Better Way to Fix Flat Tires

super blue blood lunar eclipse ~ d nelson

A friendly visit to young neighbors
socializing brought smiles to us adults.
Eventually, I asked about the teen & pre-teen sitting over there.
Parents said, if heads are down, looking like they are bowing in shame,
noses glued to their cell phones, then they are playing.

I shyly went over and asked what they’re playing.
After some quiet moments, except for sounds leaking from earbuds,
I was told one name or another which I did not recognize.
“What do you guys do to play, outside”, asked I?
They said after being shuttled around, usually, they’re indoors,
“sheltered like plants in a nursery.”

As they continued to poke at their devices
I recalled going out, unsupervised to play.
We’d go out, look up at the sky & wonder.
By the time I was 7, I was out my own,
out seeing if the birdie would
eat the apple core I threw in the garden.
My friends & I would climb over nearby fences
and go play in creeks, in low & high water.

We’d dangle on the old monkey bars & jump on teeter totters.
By 3rd grade we’d be riding our stingrays a mile
to the beach, play on the cliffs & boogie board.
Their curious faces looked up from their phones
and asked how parents let us go out like that
& wasn’t I afraid of getting hurt or being abducted?

Seems it was a different time, back then in the 60’s.
I’m not sure how it’s more dangerous for kids now.
We had no computers, smart phones or 24/7 infotainment.
We got experience & paid attention to our self survival instincts.
I told them that we needed to know how
to do basic stuff like adjust our bikes & fix flat tires,
cause flats happened & still happen to this day.

In this past year I’ve had a half-dozen flats
with each one being caused by staples in the road.
They asked if those staples put in the road make me angry?
Me: “Perhaps they fell off a truck, or maybe they were put
in the bike lane intentionally, I don’t know.
I breathe in and calm my body & unpleasant feelings.
Then I take out the repair kit, patch the tire
and pump it back up.

The flat tire doesn’t make me happy, but
by showing love, caring and understanding for myself
I can show love, caring and understanding for who
or whatever reason that caused the staple to be there.
It’s still fun for me, an old guy, to play outside
& I hope you guys will get out to play more, too!”

Each thought, each action in the sunlight of awareness becomes sacred.
In this light, no boundary exists between the sacred and the profane ~Thich Nhat Hanh

95 Replies to “Better Way to Fix Flat Tires”

  1. David, your photo of the moon I’m “green” over. It was cloudy here, darn it! I had SO wanted to get my tripod out and capture this moon. *sigh* That didn’t happen. So glad YOU got the chance though! As for being outside, my mother had to drag us kids in. We just didn’t want to be inside, winter or summer. These kids today don’t know what they are missing and I for one feel really sad for them. The “fear” is terrible! Fear is keeping too many imprisoned, thanks to technology and the “news”. Yes I too know how to patch a tire. I had to learn that as well as a kid. I went everywhere on my bike! A 12-speeder at that … a real gift back in those days!! Great post, dear friend! Have a wonderful weekend!! πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

    1. i’m glad you got up & tried to get that moon shot, Amy! it was a wonderful
      early morning experience, then back to bed!
      smiling to your encouragement to get out and let nature
      nurture our spirit, bring smiles and ease fears.
      wishing you a playful day πŸ™‚

  2. Good on you David!
    We sat on a hill with so many people just staring at the moon for hours that night – amazing how many people spent the night just staring into the sky, connected (but not by wifi) for one evening.

  3. There are no open places anymore near our house in the city I grew up. Everytime I go back home I feel sad for the home bound kids. Progress(?) has taken away childhood from an entire generation.

  4. Don’t know which I enjoyed more, David – your vivid recollections of outdoor adventures in the sixties (not much different from mine from the fifties!), or your bicycle tire repair tutorial. Thanks for both, as well as the usual stunning photography.

  5. πŸ˜† On weekends and Summer days, when I was growing up, I went outside in the morning and usually didn’t come back until it was time for dinner (if then). I’d be at a park playing baseball, basketball or football or riding my bicycle most of the time. Sometimes I’d ride a train or, on a rainy day, play board (never bored) games, knock hockey, card games or watch television. I once shoveled snow on a basketball court with a friend to “shoot hoops” and played plenty of football games in the rain. We called those sloppy football games The Mud Bowl. I didn’t always have a patch kit for my tires, but if I got a flat tire I’d just walk to the closest house – mine or a friend’s and take care of it. We knew if there was a strange look in the eyes of someone we didn’t know or a bully we did know to just keep walking to avoid trouble. Sometimes there was trouble, but that just seemed like part of growing up – experiences.

    Thanks for a great post. Hopefully, it’s educational for some people.

    1. thanks for sharing your muddy childhood
      playful memories, ashiftinconsciousness!
      we certainly had a more “in-person” experience,
      being fully present & engaged with others, with less distractions.
      now, time to play πŸ™‚

  6. When I was a kid, we played in the woods near home. There was a pond with big floating logs to use as rafts. We also would sneak around and spy on the big kids. We’d build forts. And get rashes from the poison ivy. We wouldn’t ride our bikes very far. The woods are gone now. The new residents will never know what they are missing. BTW, those staples are probably pieces of reinforcing wires used in truck tires. I know them well.

    1. i’m happy hearing of your experience in the woods. i can relate to those forts, & in my woods, poison oak!
      thanks for mentioning the truck tire wires! while i’ve pulled out staples (shape, size & pointed), some could have been little pieces of metal like you’ve experienced on you cycles πŸ™‚

  7. Your post brought back fond memories of growing up in the 1950’s. We were outdoors until called home for dinner.
    I feel bad for kids today tethered to their electronic devices, instead of friends and nature.

    1. i’m grateful hearing of such freedom
      experienced during your childhood, sandy white!
      perhaps one day children will recognize
      those tethers and cut themselves free πŸ™‚

  8. When we were kids, though there were all kinds of dangers in our small world, our parents allowed us to play outdoors and to explore the neighborhood. As a parent, I granted my sons the same freedom, with the necessary warnings for their personal safety.

    1. your better way of parenting
      makes me smile, Rosaliene!
      i remember by the early 80’s
      seeing cars backed up at the elementary school
      and wondering why kids couldn’t walk to school
      as they did when I was young.
      since, i’ve heard of parents being reported
      for letting their children be “unattended” or without supervision.
      i’m glad you had the courage to let your children
      develop and make their way, with caring warnings πŸ™‚

  9. Magnificent moon shot! Oh, David, having been a kid in the 50s and a teen in the 60s, I become sad when I think of how the children spend their free time nowadays. There’s no way to explain the fun and freedom we had of playing outdoors from daybreak to sundown and not have to worry about it. No cell phones. Just spending the day with friends, riding bikes, playing games, etc. Like Cat Stevens above!

    1. Thank you for your kind reflection, Linda!
      Being outside we learned to love nature
      and being together we learned how
      to play, pay attention to body language
      & get along. I’m happy you like
      that song, also πŸ™‚

  10. For me, the answer for change in this generation, often lies with the parents. My children have grown up seeing me ground, meditate, hug trees or point out, how beautiful the sky is, or acknowledge there is a bird in our backyard. They are on their phones as well, but they know if they feel stressed or concerned, they place their bare feet on the ground or they go for a walk in nature. We are all responsible for this teaching. Beautiful reminder for us all David 🌈

    1. When I worked in public health I experienced entire communities where children were not nurtured in ways of understanding & love.
      However, it always made me quite happy to encounter children displaying intuitive, relational & intellectual gifts
      from being brought up by skillfully loving & caring parents, such as yourself, Karen! Makes me happy they can
      put their feet down, and know that they are truly standing and being supported on this earth. πŸ™‚

  11. Ah, the safer old days! I remember Stingray bikes, some with banana seats. For boys. When I was a kid, girls rode girls’ bikes, sometimes pink, sometimes with sparkly streamers off the grips of the handlebars. I didn’t have my own bike, though, because of where we lived, no sidewalks. But I did get a skateboard! David, your posts are always wonderful for me, and the photos, too. 😎

    1. Thanks Sunny for gently supporting this idea of safety & cycling along with me. I don’t recall me or other kids (around me) dwelling in fear even though there must have been crimes & other bad things happening to kids, somewhere. The stingray looked cool with the things i’d hang off the handlebars & put in the spokes. I’m happy to have a comfortable bike now and don’t long for a stingray!
      Wishing you a happy moment πŸ™‚

  12. Such an enjoyable post! Brought back good memories of my childhood (50’s into the 60’s). The fearless play outside in the woods, everywhere, pretty much running free. (Being a girl I never knew how to fix a flat tire though. πŸ˜‰ )

    1. thanks for harking back to the good old days with me, Betty!
      i’m glad they were mostly good for us. most importantly,
      we survived! it’s quite something you got
      through it without fixing a tire πŸ™‚

  13. How fortunate it is to grow up experiencing nature free and unfettered πŸ™‚ I still get that same sense of exhilaration all these years later speeding downhill riding a bike :). That super moon was a treat!

    1. thank you for your kind reflection, Nature on the edge!
      perhaps that was you i saw blur by
      as i rode down that steep hill the other day!
      smiles, david πŸ™‚

  14. In the 70s, I played/hiked in the woods and rode my bike around town, usually with friends but sometimes alone. My theory about the fear now comes from increased media coverage of abductions and other scary stuff which leads to more scary stuff happening. Fortunately we can still get outside and play.

    1. Thanks for being your playful self, JoAnna!
      Those are very likely contributors to the fear, along with more people, less open space, & perhaps changes in laws & expectations.
      Good thing we’ll keep doing our best to get out, enjoy nature and set good examples
      for kids of all ages πŸ™‚

  15. I had to learn how to mend punctures too, David. πŸ™‚ But my children don’t know how. I’m a bit sad about that, but that’s how things turned out. The world changed, and most Westerners have ended up with children hooked up to technology like intravenous drips with no idea what to do about it. My son has outgrown it, thank God, but my daughter is still dependent on it.
    Thanks for sharing you thoughts and photos.

    1. i admire the creative ways
      parents do their best
      to love & nurture
      despite the challenges
      society & technology
      put in the way, Sarah!
      your children have such
      a caring, wonderful mother,
      even if they can’t fix
      their flats, yet πŸ™‚

  16. Definitely interesting how times change. Electronic games were fun, but tire the mind eventually and always left me with a sort of sluggish hangover I’d cure by running outside to play with a ball and a hoop in the driveway, or hide in the woods, or wrestle with the dog… And in the 80’s we were still riding our bikes all over the place! But I think you said something true here: we had to look out for one another, keep our radar’s up, and have some basic smarts out there. Good skills to have… to accompany the appreciation of creepy-crawlies and snakes and rock walls perfect for climbing…


    1. smiling to your affectionate remembrance
      & connection to being out with others
      & the critters, playing joyfully, Michael! had there been e games when i was a kid, i probably would have wanted one.
      when pc’s first came out i had a couple games, pacman and ping pong on mine. yes, they got boring after a few hours, my eyes would hurt and i never played another video game since. i like your cure to sluggish feelings! wishing you a joyful day of play, david πŸ™‚

  17. We repair the leaks and adventure onward, and some people come with us, and some people just can’t. Happy trails to you, my adventuring friend of great compassion.

  18. Oh didn’t we just love going out to play, to be… just enjoying doing nothing at all… what today’s kids miss, what happened… anyway cycling is a love… although I need a pump and strength to get back up the mountains… my days cycling in holland, nice and flat are a pleasant memory❀️. Thankyou for your beautiful photos and words… love barbara x

    1. thank you for sharing those joyful
      cycling memories, Barbara!
      my 2 years in Amsterdam were the best
      for cycling, along with so many others,
      in our own fietspad, off for koffee & appeltart! if you still like to pedal, an electric bike is worth looking into. lots of info at . wishing you a happy, playful day πŸ™‚

      1. Yes toms sister bought herself one and she is so thankful… she cycles for miles now! Each time she comes to visit us, we are off to MΓ‘laga to sightsee on bikes… happy days ❀️

  19. Wonderful post David.. and we grew up in similar times.. when outside we played from dawn till dusk in school holidays.. And yes the young have their head buried in their games, and mobile devices… Loved those photos.. and your clever narrative, Loved the moon and the sparrow.. And happy you managed to get mobile on the road again..
    Its not tacks in the roads that cause tire bursts here in the UK.. Its HOLES in the road.. Our roads are getting to be a disgrace.
    Have a wonderful week David

    1. smiling to your kind review & reflection, Sue!
      i’m happy to brought up some happy memories
      and curiosities about the present.
      just cause a technology is available,
      does it mean adults & kids have to use it?
      i hope you find safe passage between the holes
      and enjoy a ride, wind blowing in your hair πŸ™‚

  20. Your hands and fingers are tougher than mine, dear David; I gave up repairing my own flats some time ago, though your photos certainly brought back memories, as did your memories of childhood. I’m sad for youngsters who rarely get out to play today, and frustrated with parents who use technology as a babysitter. Their children will grow up with little experience and less appreciation of the natural world, and then who will care enough to protect it? I’m glad you spoke to these two, perhaps planting a seed. And, great images, as always — especially of that beautiful moon. Metta to you, gentle soul.

    1. so true, Cate, about getting the tires off. some are fairly easy, while others are so tight. i can see why some get bike roadside assistance!
      poor young of today being denied direct experiences with adults, each other, & especially, nature.
      if only there was an app to fix it all. well, for now we’ll just keep doing our best
      with the patch kit we’ve got. wishing you a happy moment πŸ™‚

  21. hello smilecalm its dennis the vizsla dog hay my dada sez that wen he wuz a kid he yoozed to ride his bike all over the nayborhud too and he wood spend all day owt in the wuds running arownd or splashing arownd in the kreek that wuz bak in the mithikal time of the seventeez so i gess that wen things chayndjd they chayndjd after he wuz dun beeing a kid!!! he seems to be ok with that!!! ok bye

    1. i’m smiling to you from the CA moon, nia.
      i got up early and was glad my camera awoke, also.
      yes, it was a pleasant day to cycle.
      wishing you a happy play day with your
      friends & kitties πŸ™‚

  22. I’m grateful that my patients aren’t computers, because besides getting outside for exercise,
    I’d be working in front of a computer all the time, since that’s where most of the work through out
    the years has been (and still is). Your part about children has me thinking of the adage about teaching a man/woman to fish…, how important it is to help children “to fish” and “to play.” I remember playing “grown up stuff” as a kid. I used to enjoy tutoring the kids I tutored, when I did that.
    I think we are all still children in some way – and now, I am reminiscing about bikes and roller-skates
    and thinking about how to re-incorporate them again in the future (thanks for the flat tire tips!). Now that i healed myself, these
    are definitely possibilities. Here’s to helping patch up “bikes….” for everyone and eliminating sharp stuff from the ground,
    and making time for “me” time. Your post “bikes and moon” has me thinking of ET. ET phone home! hahahaha

    1. thanks for the call, dear Ka! isn’t that our longing
      to make a connection to home, even if by technology?
      your playful youth reflection makes me smile. yes, we’re still
      kids of all ages. yet we had the advantage of playing with each other, in nature. With, perhaps, more freedom & less fear.
      As Thay so sweetly taught, the most precious gift we can offer is our presence,
      whether it be to our beloved, our friends or all of nature. how else can we experience the vastness of non-verbal communication; by LOL or emoticons?
      May kids of all ages, including ourselves, have the gift,
      to give & receive true presence πŸ™‚

  23. Thank you for inspiring memories of bike riding days and outdoor adventures David. We had fun, and we learned resilience. We had to look out for each other, and learned to appreciate nature. These were the times that stories were made of. πŸ’›

    1. i’m happy to hear of your playful, learning childhood, also, dear Val!
      yes, we learned to look our for each other, & to feel
      connected & looked after. thank you for sharing your story.
      wishing you a happy play day πŸ™‚

  24. Yes, I remember those days. We were the knights of our own Camelot as we rode the days and nights away. Thank you for these good memories coming into my thoughts today.

  25. Your post awakened memories of my no-fear childhood. In Scranton and Newark I hit the street early summer mornings for hours collecting bugs, burying dead birds, playing games, getting into fights, playing hop-scotch, running rope, and going home for lunch. No adult supervision. No fear.

    1. makes me happy
      hearing of your fearless childhood, susan!
      so much more pleasant being free
      of that fear at an early age.
      may children feel safe,
      have lots of fun playing outside
      and learn to trust others πŸ™‚

  26. David, I had trouble just moving beyond your first dramatic photo of the moon – an astonishing and mesmerising photo. Well done on fixing the bike and finding the peace and satisfaction… my brother always helped me with mine and I enjoyed watching for the bubble of air when looking for the puncture. How odd about the staples! The mind boggles! Personally I think we are all very different, whatever our age and generation. My son and his friends, although all keen on playing xbox, YouTube and messaging, also all love the outdoors. They are all desperate for longer days when they can be out after school playing football, going running, out on long hikes! The freedom you had at seven is not something most primary school age children will be allowed these days … if nothing else social services would be called in! Precious memories for you to treasure and definitely a liberating time, alas things change.

  27. The moon photos are breathtaking. Such nostalgic words. I cherish the memories of playing outside, having the freedom to explore the neighborhood and beyond, finding my way home without the use of maps or apps. Like you, I still love to play outside in the glorious silence.

  28. I remember all the time playing outside, riding my bike, roller skating until the stars and moon came out. Kids are missing so much today. I love it when my granddaughters put down their phones and ask to walk to the park/woods that are in walking distance from our house, but farther than I like them to go. We worry about them and they hate us checking on them, but it’s worth it to see them playing in the woods building something and becoming one with the outdoors.

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