What kind of wheels do you have? Do they tell your story? Can wheels teach us anything about life?
My first set of wheels preceded my earliest memories. I was a babe in a stroller with my mother pushing me through time and space.
My tricycle was an empowering set of wheels that allowed me to chase after my older sisters on their bicycles, until they reached the corner at the end of the street, and I had to turn for home. If the tricycle was empowering, bicycles opened up the world to me, enabling me to travel around corners and tackle steeper roads.
During my university years, I thought I had arrived at the height of coolness, as I cruised around Vancouver in my sisters’ classic 1967 white Ford Mustang. But alas, life was moving on, and with it, my sisters, who sold their car.
Tony, a blue Toyota Corolla, entered my life when my younger sister arrived at university. However, as life continued its forward march, I married, leaving Tony behind with my little sister who drove it for another two decades.
My husband and I started out with Homer Honda, a copper-coloured Civic hatchback. It was small enough that he could push it up a steep driveway on a winter’s morning as I gave it the gas, and nearly asphyxiated him. It was fun and sporty, the perfect car for a young couple ready to rock on down life’s highway.
With the birth of our second child, we graduated to a Civic Sedan. It wasn’t long before two children were three, the Civic became an Accord, and we bought a second car, a red Mazda Protégé, to transport kids to activities. Soon after we “upgraded” to the mini-van we named Dream Chaser. We had traded “cool” for the responsibilities and relationships of family.
When I was twenty something, I found it amusing that “old” (fifty something) men drove around in sports cars. I get it now. Middle age is one of those quick stops along the highway of life when we can comfortably own a sporty car. So while I still drive a sedan, there is also a coupe at my disposal.
What wheels are in my future? Maybe my trike will reappear as a motorized scooter, or my two-wheeler as a wheelchair.
From stroller to coupe, my wheels have corresponded to the phases of my life. They have been symbolic of the transitions from infancy and dependency to adulthood and responsibility. With each transition, there came a developing awareness of personhood and life. And just as a wheel once set in motion revolves until it runs out of steam or someone applies the brakes, my life and my understanding of life continue to evolve.
From the empowerment that came with madly pedaling my tricycle to the joy of pursuing my children’s dreams in a mini-van, from the skinned knees of falling off my bicycle to a car crash that left me shaken, wheels symbolically tell the story of my life, representing its ups and downs, the easy drives and the tough journeys. Rounding out corners and expanding boundaries, wheels chart our progress from beginning to end, reminding us that nothing is permanent and that change is always certain.
Trail resident Louise McEwan is a freelance religion writer with degrees in English and Theology.