A Problem with Porridge

Kindergarden, Berlin, Germany

When I was five years old, one of my older brothers taught me how to ride a bike on a beat-up old hand-me-down. About the third time out, I was rolling down the sidewalk with my brother jogging next to me, holding onto the back of the bike seat to keep me upright.

“You’re doing it by yourself,” he said. I couldn’t figure out what he meant. Then he held up his hands so I could see them, both of them. Wow––I couldn’t believe it––I was riding. How could that be! I had just been inoculated with the magic of balance. It was only the beginning.

Everything is about balance. I have to balance my time, work and play, carbs and fat, time on the screen; it’s perfectly sweet, perfectly ripe, and too much salt. Relationships are balance, and so is peace, a balanced temperament, strong and kind, straight and kinky. Goldilocks had some trouble, a problem with porridge. And what about the big balance––our needs and the natural world––rivers, oceans, and sky; forest, animals, and plants all squared up with humanity and its machines? Even a child understands the magic of balance.