Biking alongside the river was my favorite pastime during the two years I lived in Jeonju. North to south, the river seemingly stretches on into eternity. Often times, short bike rides became unexpected marathons. I never biked for the sake of testing my physical endurance or for exercise. Biking along the river was all about spiritual and emotional healing. It was about being one with nature and dropping my cares and worries at an appointed place and leaving them there, at least for an afternoon.
Just like rivers connect cities to each other, to the ocean, and to the rest of the world, I believe they also connect people to each other. They remind us that we we share existence with other people and nature, both which seek peace and harmony in a frantic world. In that stream of consciousness swims the sanity that I look for when I ride along the river. When I look around, I am reminded that I am sharing the moment with complete strangers. Yet I also realize we aren’t complete strangers, that we share a sense of peace and serenity that unites us across all the social barriers that separate us. We are, at that time, like the river: one entity gently flowing along into the future, into eternity.