Scooters, Mr Kelley, And The Spiral Garden

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Every day we notice things we’ve never noticed before, especially while riding scooters.

Scooters, Mr Kelley, and the spiral garden

On this morning’s ride, up the San Gabriel River Trail from Ramona Boulevard in El Monte CA to Arrow Highway in Irwindale at the foot of the Santa Fe Dam, the weather’s perfect: cloudy, cool, no wind. Just right for the 6.5 mile round trip, a 191 foot elevation climb going up, with four or five short walk-up hills, all money in the bank for the trip back. 560 scoots up, 360 scoots back.

Going like the wind, averaging 7 mph

One underpass has a tricky transition crack between asphalt trail and cement at an underpass, otherwise it’s all easy, with nice views of an only partially tamed San Gabriel River.

At the top of the trail, I stop for water, and talk with some bicyclists. Their kids have scooters. One rider tells me his dad used to ride a scooter across his college campus in Mexico.

I urge a couple of the guys to check out
While I’m sitting sipping my water, I notice something I’d never seen before on the several times I’ve been to this exact spot. A spiral, in a garden beside the trail.

A spiral

An age old form in nature and in art. From the Nautilus shell, to the double spiral carved in granite in front of a 5,000 year old neolithic tomb in Newgrange Ireland, to Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty at Great Salt Lake, Utah, circling down to my personal art creation, my Newgrange Neon Spiral, patterned after what stone carver craftsmen created in Newgrange 200 generations ago.

From Neolithic Ireland to the hip metropolis and bright lights of 2020 Los Angeles

For sure, one of the stone carvers passed me a spiral strand of his DNA. I am him. He is me. In some undefinable way, I know he experiences my world of kick scooting today.

Here, right now, I see the spiral, feel its energy, and smile at the circular continuity of time.
Here, right now, I see the spiral, feel its energy, and smile at the circular continuity of time.

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Jonathan Kelley
Jonathan Kelley, 80, was born in Boston, and educated at Exeter and Princeton, then Harvard Medical School, after a year teaching English in Cali, Colombia. He was a Navy anesthesiologist during Viet Nam. He spent the middle decades of his life working in a community hospital in Northern California. Besides his career in medicine, he’s a chef, pianist, and actor in his artistic life. In the kitchen, he specializes in croissants and cooking with coconuts. At the piano, it’s boogie woogie and Joplin rags. As an actor, he’s done fourteen seasons in a Mexican Christmas play in Los Angeles, plus the occasional movie role, as in the soon-to-be-released feature film “Amor en 266 Millas,” where he plays the hippie patriarch of a desert commune in the Antelope Valley. He has two books available on Amazon, “Counting Backwards from 100: My Life as an Anesthesiologist,” and “Short Stories by Jonathan Kelley.” Searching for improved balance and leg strength at age 77, Jonathan came by chance upon a Xootr scooter. Jonathan’s wife is the lovely Puerto Rican actress Gloria Laino. Their mix is like Puerto Rican arroz con gandules served next to New England style cranberry sauce.

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