Ann's Dream. Diamonds or dust?
Weather is mostly dry. The commute is routine, for now. I am grateful for the lack of challenges. It is a good time to recharge mentally. Dealing with the bad weather has drained me. The newspaper says it is the second wettest January since the late 1800's. From December 18 to January 18 is the wettest 30 day period on record. I know. I've been out there. On the bike. It seems I have felt every drop. The weather future is uncertain. For now I can relax and enjoy. I see hawks perched on metal fence posts. They watch freeway traffic. What do they think of what they see? I wave to them as God's fellow creatures.
There is a certain feeling. I feel good deep down. So many good things bursting out. Like a puppy wagging its tail inside me.
The "Soul of a Motorcyclist"
I have broached this before. What does it mean to have this "soul"? Consider two women.
Her name is Ann. She is in my class. One of 12 students. I teach motorcycle classes. Last night was classroom. The weekend will be for riding. Ann is 71. Her body is slumped and shapeless. Her shoes are sturdy. The clothes speak of service to others. Was she a nurse? Institutional food service? I do not pry. It is hers to tell me as she is ready. Her body seems weak. In contrast, her voice is strong. It seems a fire burns inside. Eyes are dimmed with age. The spirit is still young. She tells me her son rides. She tells me of his fun. How he loves to ride. She speaks of a ride she took with him. A borrowed Goldwing. A son and his Mom. In the telling her eyes shine. Her face beams. A magic carpet ride. On a bike behind her beloved son.
She thinks she would like a scooter. The Silver Wing is too tall. She cannot get feet on the ground. A Suzuki fits her. It is big enough she needs an endorsement. Ann also talks of buying a Goldwing. She will make the payments. She will insure it. The agent will only insure it for her if she is endorsed. Ann says she will give the bike to her son. All she asks in return are rides. She wants to relive that magical two hours. There are other solutions. This is her dream. It is not mine. I keep quiet.
Ann is different than Rachel. Rachel is young. She is there for different reasons. Rachel says she is there to "keep up with friends". Her reason is social. It could be cars. It could be a sport. It just happens to be bikes. It is sad to me. The young girl will likely succeed. Ann will struggle. To Rachel it will mean a little. To Ann it is everything. Rachel will not appreciate it like Ann. I will treat both equally. My heart will be with Ann.
I think again of Ann. The look on her face.
I rejoice for her. I grieve for her. I have seen many students. Some are older. They chase dreams. Their minds are young. Their bodies deny them the attainment. It is likely the same for Ann. Her chances are not good. I will do my best for her. Sometime during this weekend I may have to shatter her dream. Yet if I do not I may be doing her greater harm. This is a journey of discovery. A safe place to explore. If this is not for her best to know now. The alternative would be on the streets. Reality is not forgiving. I am a professional. Duty and honor bid me be honest with my students. Pray that Ann is an exception. Prepare for the pain. If she fails I will weep inside for her. The big picture may be served. In the process a little part of each of us will die.
Rachel may ride. Riding will not give her what we feel. I believe it is beyond her.
Pass or not, Ann has the "soul of a motorcyclist". She may never ride on her own. And yet, Ann will always be one of "us".
I will tell you the story as it unfolds.