Meaning of Community: The Memorial to Ali Mirage
Here there are no strangers, only friends we are yet to meet. Recently I stopped at the memorial and ghost bike for Ali Mirage, and what instantly came to mind was that well-known quote (various forms exist), which says much about the nature of community. As I read some of the messages I began to notice the names of people familiar to me, cyclists themselves. Though I am sure, many of them knew Ali Mirage, I am also quite sure that others did not. It is a fantastic thing the way, otherwise, complete strangers have taken a moment to reach out, to share their thoughts and prayers.
Fast forward to this morning when I had occasion to drive past the memorial, and was struck by how different it looks from the inside of a passing vehicle. The ghost bike, the flowers, candles, and poster all looked terribly lonely and isolated. It didn't take long to realize it was the distortion of the windshield perspective, the isolation of the auto cocoon that was the cause. It was in that moment that the real meaning of our little cycling community really came to life. The bike may be a mere tool, but it is one that unites us; it allows complete strangers to feel a connection to one another, compels them to scratch a note, a prayer, a remembrance in a spirit of fellowship. Indeed, here there are no strangers, only friends we are yet to meet.
Incidentally, if you have not liked the CLR Effect page on Facebook, you will not have seen the comment left by someone who knew Ali Mirage. I had put forth the lament that the coldness of news reports left me empty, with little idea of who the man was in life. The comment that I received went a long way toward filling an obviously huge gap. If you want to read it go to the CLR Effect page and look for the post of December 28 (comment from January1).