What does that word mean to you?

I googled it. Got a huge, long list of definitions. This was my favorite:

All the organisms that live in a particular area; an assemblage of populations of different species living close enough together for potential interaction

— Project UFO

Organisms close enough for potential interaction. Ponder that for a moment.

One of the things I love about bike commuting is the realization of that potential. Saying good morning to the crossing guard at Lakemont and Glenridge. Giving thumbs-up to the OPD motorcycle officers speed-checking Corrine or S. Ivanhoe. Stopping to chat with the lady with the dachsund on the Mead Garden trail.

One night I witnessed a little boy taking his first pedal strokes without his training wheels. His siblings gave him a push start down the sidewalk and I got to cheer with them as I was riding by.

Occasionally a motorist will pull up next to me and ask me questions about my commute. This morning a nice lady pulled up next to me and said “gosh you’re brave!”  We chatted about the benefits of bike commuting. She could have turned right on red wihtout a word, but I’d like to think that brief interaction left us both a little lighter and happier… and more connected.

This sense of community — potential realized — is something I miss on the days I have to drive my car.