May 21, 2005


Do you have a Sleep Mantra? A place your mind automatically melts into moments after you lie down for a night's rest?

For me it's "the Perfect Ride." I close my eyes and sense my spiritual arms stretch forward as my imagined hands gently grasp my motorcycle's handlebar grips. In this hazy state between the edge of reality and the fall into dreams, I'm already in the midst of a sensuous sweeping curve.

On my left I sense a verdant, flower -filled jungle at the base of an impressive mountain range. To my right I see an aquamarine ocean, a horseshoe shaped bay. My nostrils fill with the powerful aroma of Bougainvillea vines.

I'm fascinated that I have this same Sleep Mantra, or Sleep Place, each night. The sweeping curve is always the same, a long, slowly bending left hand leaner of a corner. Yet the views to my left and right seem different each time.

When the curve is on steamy-warm and moist mountainous road with the sea beneath me on the right I think of Nice, France -- Puerto Vallarta, Mexico -- the Santa Cruz Mountains, California -- and a score of other memorable places and rides from my past travels. Most of these rides were on motorcycles: one, PV Mexico, was by car. (I have a feeling that I will someday return there on the Montauk, perhaps during what everyone calls "retirement," or perhaps earlier on a sabbatical).

When the curve is in a musty, sun-filled stand of multicolored foliage trees I think of Franconia, New Hampshire -- Stowe, Vermont -- Bethel, Maine -- and any number of other New England towns where Fall Foliage rides make for a lifetime of joyful memory.

Last night my Place was Puerto Vallarta. Tonight, who knows? Perhaps even a newer old locale dredged up from memories I've heretofore forgotten to remember.