Monday, January 30, 2006

Riding like the wind....and yet, not.

Monday morning. The wind has howled all night. That is not really true. Everybody says that. "The wind howled". In truth, the wind moaned. Some may say that it is not possible. It is only noise from moving air. That the wind is mindless, lifeless. Mindless? Perhaps. However, I believe that it has a soul. As do all things in nature. This wind was troubled. I could hear the sadness. Oddly, I could feel it's sadness. I could identify with it. The wind and I formed a bond.

This body of moving air craves freedom. That which is found in open spaces. Free to move unimpeded. High above in the skies. To be moving briskly. Following the curve of the earth. Instead it is exiled to be near the ground. So many obstacles in its way. Having to encounter and avoid houses, fences, vehicles, trees. Its progress constantly thwarted. Yet it must continue for it is driven by powerful forces. And so it moans.

I, too, am driven to ride. Ironically, it is the weather and darkness that has banished me from my beloved back roads. I am exiled to the Interstate and city streets. My work hours force me to ride at busy times. Cars, trucks, zombie drivers all need to be dealt with. My progress is constantly snarled. The wind and I are the same. The wind and I are different. I have conscious thought. I choose to find the good in my journey. Despite the circumstances my soul finds peace just being on the bike. I can feel the sadness but choose happiness. I choose not to moan.

It is time to leave. I pull on my gloves. They are by Tourmaster. The Polar Tec line. I have tried many gloves for winter riding. Some look good but are too thin. My hands freeze. Some are warm. Because they are very thick. Smooth operation of controls becomes difficult. These gloves balance the two. I like them very much. This year it was time to get a new pair. The old pair have a zipper on the gauntlet. The new pair have no zipper. There is a drawstring. I am very put out that they have changed. I do not wish to start with a new brand. So I purchase them. The new style prove workable. Why was I so disgruntled? I have always claimed to love adventure. Is there another side of me emerging? Does this side seek the familiar? Does this side of me resist change as uncomfortable? I have thought deeply on this. I determine to always be open to new challenges. I wish to die at a hundred years old. Shot by a jealous husband. Because my escape is delayed. Because my bike is a little slow to fire.

The forecast is for heavy rain. This morning I find another break. There is no rain for my ride in. Soon my luck will run out. For now I am grateful. I do not see the white Goldwing this morning. After Friday I had hoped to see it again. In fact, I see no other bikes on this ride.

Later on the laughter of the Gods was at my expense. I could only laugh with them. It was my own fault. The sun came out just before lunch. I rode my bike to eat. I always wear all the gear. All the time. Today I did not. Jacket, helmet, gloves. No rain pants. Just jeans. I was lured by the siren call of the sun. The Gods let me get lunch. Then they toyed with me. In an instant the sun was gone. In its place are now black, angry clouds. Where they have come from so quickly I am not sure. One second I am in the sun. The next I am pelted by hail and rain. It is so bad I cannot see. The noise of the hail on my helmet deafens me. The road becomes slick. I concede defeat and pull off the road. Defeated but still defiant, I shake my fist at the sky. Not in anger. More a promise that things will go differently next time we meet. If the car drivers can see me they must wonder what sort of drama is being played out. It is my private pact with the Gods. I care not what the car drivers think. I have shown a vulnerability to the Gods that they could not resist. It is a small reminder. This was a small thing. I will not show the same vulnerability to larger risks.

The ride home was dry. Having had their fun, the Gods allow me to regain my dignity. How wonderfully complex and interesting life is on a bike. I greet my wife with a kiss. It has been a good day.


Steve Williams said...


Reading your post reminds me of all the stories of sailors in small sailboats rounding Cape Horn, wind, pelting rain, hail, and the defiant sailor. It is a feeling I am attracted to but I am not always sure it is the healthiest choice....

There is something envigorating about standing alone against foul weather. It is what pushed me to backpack alone in the winter, sail a small boat in the open ocean, walk alone in the mountains, and now ride alone on my scooter. The desire to feel the air, the wind, the world on my own has caused me to dismiss any serious involvement with the scooter club here which is largely a social gathering.

The tone of your post today reminded me of Edward Abbey's writings in "Desert Solitaire".

Keep riding safe.


Mad said...

It's always the way isn't it? If you leave your waterproofs at home the weather will change to rain just as you reach the furthest point from home. Gets me everytime...