September 29, 2006

AND THEN EVENING COMES IN PEACE


Blue hour, blue water...
Originally uploaded by ToNo's world.



Morning moves to day; and day to night. Balance is all around us.

MARBLEHEAD MORNING


MARBLEHEAD MORNING
Originally uploaded by snowriderguy.



The perfection of a sunrise in New England is captured here in this wonderfully balanced photograph of early morning in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Breath it in.

September 28, 2006

Shroom Forest


Shroom Forrest
Originally uploaded by Ride n' Fast &Take n' Chances.



Nature abhors a vacuum. Nature seeks life. The tiny Shroom Forest stands tall and proud, though only inches high. It is perfection in every sense.

CURRENTS



Originally uploaded by parasol.



"There's lots of motion in the ocean," an old timer told me a long, long time ago. Yes, indeed, there is.

There's also lots of motion in the air around us. The air is an ocean, less dense for sure than water, but an ocean filled with currents nonetheless.

We enjoy all that our atmospheric ocean brings, whether rain, snow, hail or sunshine. We need them all, in the right balance, to make our planet liveable.

Clouds roll by showing the speed and whirl of these currents. Birds soar in the currents, some so large they can glide for miles without so much as flapping a single wing. Uplifting, such soaring is, not only to the bird but to the person blessed with observing the miracle of such flight.

Flyers of kites work the winds as if they were a three-dimensional dance hall in which colorful contraptions shall trip the light fantastic. Little children open their jackets and feel as if they might fly away.

I watch the currents and sense just how delicate this ecosystem is. To some the currents bring precious rain. To others floods: to still others nothing but further crushed dreams of crops never to grow.

Currents -- rhythms -- balance. The clouds are like Zen Riders on the ultimate journey. They ride the currents. They twist and turn. They go on forever.

September 27, 2006

The Beauty of Days


Twilight
Originally uploaded by oceangonewrong.

Time has a pulse--a beat. It moves always into the what will be. Time is comforting in that sense. It will bring you sunny days and rainy days. It will bring you dawns and dusks.

It will bring you closer to your future.

Appreciating the beauty of time requires the appreciation of each moment for its own nowness. We need not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Tomorrow will bring its own moments of nowness if we'll only allow ourselves to pause and feel it.

Feel it, hold it.

I was thinking today of how good friends uplift our spirits through even the littlest things. It might even be the simple act of saying "Hello" when you call them on the phone. That little word spoken with genuine kindness bathes the hearer in such warmth.

It's as if you 're holding sunshine in your hands.

Riding, too, brings that sense of completeness to one's soul. Like time, riding has a rhythm and pace. Each turn is an act of nowness--of completeness.

Sunrise to sunset, corner to corner, we ride through time. If we're lucky we actually allow ourselves to feel and love each moment of the journey.

September 26, 2006

RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI ON THE ROAD

Some evenings I retire to my library to find a book of comfort. Tonight I happened to spy my volume of Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book." Perfect, I thought.

My first opening of the book happened upon Baloo's recitation of "The Laws of the Jungle." So simple, so clear:

"Now this is the law of the jungle -- as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.

Wash daily from nose-tip to tail-tip, but never too deep; and remember, the night is for hunting, and forget not the day is for sleep.

Keep peace with the Lords of the Jungle -- the Tiger, the Panther, the Bear.

When Pack meets with Pack in the Jungle, and neither will go from the trail, Lie down till the leaders have spoken -- it may be fair words shall prevail."

Fanning pages I had read so many years earlier, I stumbled upon what had once been my favorite story as a child, "Rikki-tikki-tavi," the fabled Mongoose who was loved by people and feared by snakes.

But here on the page were words I had never noticed before:

"It is the hardest thing in the world to frighten a mongoose, because he is eaten up from nose to tail with curiosity. The motto of all the mongoose family is, "Run and find out."

Oh my, I hesitated, Rikki-t-t was just like me and so many other adventurers I know. I smiled. I've never particularly likened myself to a mongoose before. But I do like the motto.

When next I depart my home on an adventure I'll remember to call out "Run and Find Out!" I'm so ready for that tonight.

AUTUMN WALKS


The cathedral (1)
Originally uploaded by bikeart.


Today is a perfect day. Oh to walk along a path such as this would be a marvel. I feel it calling, and know that the world is full of such wonders.

September 25, 2006

WHY WE RIDE

I watched a Falcon soaring in the wind today. Ironic, I thought, given my dreaming yesterday of Andean Condors.

Tonight I'm thinking of the upcoming Columbus Day Weekend, a weekend that has so many years brought fantastic weather. I'm longing to make it a fine farewell to what has been the best Riding Season I can remember in many a year. (I know, there's been a lot of rain this year, but I've become so accustomed to rain riding that I am quite comfortable with it. Even in rain there's magic.)

Accuweather.com is already predicting gorgeous weather, though my common sense makes me question the credibility of weather forecasts two weeks off. Could there actually be another perfect weekend before the bikes are put away for Winter? Gosh I hope so.

There are still roads I need to ride. There are stories to be written. The novel of our lives unfolds as we breath each new breath.

Some say "It's good to be alive." I say, "It's better to devour each day as if it's your last." Seize it -- grasp it -- breath it. That's living!

That's why we ride.

September 24, 2006

DREAM TRAVELING


Andean Condor
Originally uploaded by Tim Abbott.


There are times one travels for real and times one travels only in dreams. This weekend saw much of the latter sort for me.

Today I spent time listening to hours of Andean music as I daydreamed of motorcycling in South America. One album I found and enjoyed on URGE (microsoft's new online music site) was "Wings of the Condor." The flutes, guitars, bells and voices were spectacular. [I've downloaded several such albums for my next Zen Ride].

Which brings me to Condors. Can you imagine flying like that? Perhaps in our dreams only. I am so thankful that we have dreams to follow. Some dreams become tomorrow's reality.

September 23, 2006

British Columbia Thinking


Lake Louise 3
Originally uploaded by Patrick Costello.



I was thinking of British Columbia today.

The last time I was there was when my sister and I drove to Alaska in the Summer of 1970. I remember driving up the Fraser River Valley on our way to Dawson Creek to begin the trek up the Alaska Highway. God it is breathtaking country out West.

I wonder when I'll get to BC again. I hope it's either on skis or a bike.

September 22, 2006

SIMPLE PLEASURES

Colorado is expecting 2 feet of snow this weekend. We are expecting rain and wind but not snow. I am awash in mixed emotion.

On the one hand I want it to stay Summer forever. I can ride and ride and ride.

On the other hand I love the change of seasons. I look forward to the snow, that magical blanket on which we ski and play.

I think I am feeling a call back to the mountains of my youth, back to Franconia Notch and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I recall spending most every weekend there in my youthful Winters. The air was so cold it hurt to breath. It was great. I skied and snowshoed till exhausted. I need to do that again.

Somewhere along the road I forgot how lovely that simple life was. I forgot the muscular pleasure of splitting wood, the beauty of frosted windows, the magic of snowshoeing across open fields beneath a bright moon, exhaling steam like an Iron Horse locomotive. I need to do that again.

There are many simple pleasures that we forget in our busy lives. The joy of cooking on a Saturday morning, the warmth of a fully stoked fireplace, the smile one brings by playing guitar for another. Simple. Zen. Comfort.

I need to do that again.

LET THE COLORS BEGIN


Let The Colors Begin
Originally uploaded by photoholic1.







I awoke this morning to a chilled air. The tall Sugar Maples outside my window have begun their annual morph. I hum Willie Nelson's song, "Autum Leaves." I smile., have my coffee, and head off to work.

September 21, 2006

Mist on the Lake


Reeds #9
Originally uploaded by peter bowers.


Between mist and mountain lies a lake. It is a lovely spot of water. Deer, moose, ducks and geese are drawn to this pool on a hill.

Proud pines, multi-hued maples, and brilliantly white birches line the shore. A canoe glides silently across the still waters that brighten with the dawn.

The paddler is skilled; her strokes make narry a sound.

Soon day will break and the mist will vaporize. The reeds stand tall: they have watched over this lake all season.

Educated by their ancient lineage the reeds know they'll sleep soon beneath a protective blanket of ice. They know equally well that Spring is just around the corner. They will again grow strong to guard their watery kingdom, their lake.

September 19, 2006

JAZZ IN A SOFT RAIN



A soft rain falls tonight in New England. Softer still is the velvety voice of Sophie Milman playing on the stereo. Her inaugural album, aptly named "Sophie Milman," is a strong statement from this Russian-born Canadian phenom.

I'm known to adore good jazz. Many of my favorite rides are accompanied by the best tunes of Ray Charles, Diana Krall, Mose Allison, Sarah Vaughn, Frank Sinatra, and Stan Getz. I'm so pleased that a dear friend has enlightened me to Sophie, however. She will be added to my Mp3 playlist for the next big ride for sure.

It's true that a perfect ride stands on its own and requires no assistance from crooners and such. But not all rides are of that ilk. Many times we are forced by time pressures or other considerations to ride long stretches of passionless highway tar. On such rides the joy of great music is a welcome companion.

So I give my thanks, first to the artists who create these fine works, and second to the good friends who tell me about new artists like Sophie Milman. Like a rising tide my spirits are lifted by this kindness.

September 18, 2006

SHADOWFAX WANTS TO RIDE

Long ago, in the time of Aladdin and Sinbad, voyagers journeyed for years to find the Magic Carpets of lore. I liken such carpets to my trusty Beemer.

Whenever Shadowfax (named of course for Gandalph's swift and indefatigable stead) and I head out on a journey neither of us know what awaits.

We ride most usually toward only a direction. "Today," I say, "we ride Northwest." The next day I might declare, "we ride South." We ride toward whatever is calling us that day.

That freedom of travel, that freedom of vision, is nothing short of magical. Shadowfax is my magic carpet. He goes wherever I ask him. He is a trusted and valued traveling companion.

There are times when I forget that he is just a machine. I've noticed little things about him that seem to make him more mortal than mechanical.

He was recently parked next to another lovely Beemer and I swear I saw him inching closer to it. I'm not sure whose bike it was, but it appeared more feminine than he. I blinked to look again: he was defnintely flirting with the other bike. "Good boy," I rather predictably thought to myself. (It's a guy thing.)

Aladdin had his genie -- Ali Babba had his Thieves. I have a magic carpet that I call Shadowfax.

I sit alone tonight. I feel as if he is calling to me from the garage. He wants to ride again. I wonder if he is thinking about that Beemer he met?

September 17, 2006

Adirondack Cruising


Saranac Lake 030
Originally uploaded by Pauls Travel Photos.
Just back from a long ride in the Adirondacks, and I am so happy I went.

Some thought me a bit crazy as I headed off in the rain last Thursday.
Not so.

As expected from a perusal of the weather maps, the rain lifted early in the Park, leaving me and so many other bikers with perfect late summer riding. The Adirondack Foliage is already blushing out all shades of red and yellow.

Late summer flowers are beside just about every road, if one merely takes a moment to observe. A rather large number of slightly confused and still magnificent Monarchs flutter about, not yet sure of their migration instinct.

With peak summer tourism ended the plentiful lakes glisten with a serenity seen only this time of year. Gatherings of birds, not boats, are afloat.

Winter will no doubt come soon to these mountains and lakes. Snow will pile deep, water will freeze. Skiers will fill the cabins now empty of summer tourists. All will be well.

For me it was a stunning ride and a magical weekend. I shall return to the Adirondacks as soon as I can. Who knows, perhaps there's one more such cruise before frost and snow end my most favorite of all seasons -- Riding Season.

September 12, 2006

THE ZEN OF JOURNEY PLANNING

Tour planning comes in two flavors: Vanilla--for those long-planned special trips, and Spicy Sangria Especial--for those more immediate journeys of the now.

One's anticipation of a journey, whether Vanilla or Sangria E, should be nothing short of exhilarating. I find myself aquake with anticipation of an unknown I am about to encounter. It is a good feeling. If I were a map, I'd liken it to the intersection of Adventure Ave. and Wonderment Way.


People like me adore anticipations before a ride. Expectations we raise not, only enthusiasm for the "what might be."

I ask this: Without enthusiasm what kind of a world would it be? Is it not the dreamers who move others to seek a better world tomorrow? I salute such dreamers.

Time to ride!

September 11, 2006

Moondance


Bad Moon Rising
Originally uploaded by LyndaC.
I ride toward the moon.

CLEOPATRA HIGHBOURNE UNDERSTOOD

Motorcycling is oftentimes a solitary gestalt. One rides off on an adventure for sure. But in the end one goes and returns alone. That aloneness is both wonderful and, in a way, sad.

I never used to see it as sad in the least. It was more a liberating sense of freedom.

Tonight I was re-reading the end of Jimmy Buffett's "A Salty Piece of Land." I sat alone listening to some old John Mclaughlin jazz.

I was struck with Cleopatra Highbourne's dying advice to Tully Mars, her de facto adopted son. This fascinating woman had sailed the world, she had seen everything there was to see; and she had done it always alone. She did not regret her choice. She was determined, however, to instruct Tully not to follow in her lonely footsteps.

"We are all survivors...[she said], But the trouble with being a survivor is that you find youself dancing alone a lot. It is a tricky seesaw on which the survivor has to sit. On the one side is your ability to be comfortable in a world inhabited only by yourself. And on the other side is your desire to share your time with others....Being a survivor is not a bad thing, but you do run the risk of being the last one at the party when the punch bowl is empty and the confetti has turned to dust--like me."

All these many years I have lived with others, played with others and yet my motorcycle adventures have all been on my own. My travels have so many times been like those of Cleopatra Highbourne. I have found myself dancing alone. And like her, I don't regret it in the least.

Still, I wonder if we travelers are not all a bit like Cleopatra. Our inner selves have so many passions, each so different from everyone else's. How can one even know all this until they've achieved a maturity beyond the early years? They cannot.

Perhaps self discovery takes an entire lifetime. We must ride the seesaw. We must find our own way. Dancing alone is not the worst thing. But dancing with a partner is surely a preferable way to live.

September 10, 2006

SURFERS AND OTHER HOPELESS ROMANTICS I MISS



I awoke early this morn determined to have an adventure on the road. The sky was overcast yet blue was peaking through to the east. The weather looked to be more to the west. Coffee made and devoured, I called my cousin on the seacoast. "Want to ride," I inquired? "You bet," he replied. We agreed to meet at a seacoast tavern for Brunch.

Quick morning chores completed, I jumped on the Bimmer and blasted toward the sea. I knew I could make it there in 40 minutes by highway, or 75 by county road. I chose the latter.

Cousin Den devoured an amazing Brunch Buffet, leaving me in awe of his gastric capacity. I was less adventuresome having spied on the menu Artichoke Hearts in Garlic Butter. I orderded these (sans the cheese) with garlic bread and wine. It was a very good choice.

We then rode up the coast toward Maine, stopping to watch the rather large gathering of surfers at Rye Beach. It seems they were all anticipating huge waves from Tropical Storm Florence, but from what I could see, the waves were only in the 2 to 3 foot range. One has to admire optimism, nonetheless.

Riding along later in the day, I began to see those surfers as heroic believers in the romantic ideal. They sought perfection: perfection in the waves and in themselves. They were not dissimilar from so many of us romantics really. They had a dream and they were willing to risk everything for it.

I imagine that the waves will increase in size over the next several days. These same surfers will be there. I know: I used to be one of them. They will drop everything just for the chance to ride the perfect wave. I totally understand how they feel.

September 09, 2006

DREAMS OF MEXICAN BOUGAINVILLEA


It's no secret that I love Mexico. I especially love Mexico's West Coast.

There the jungles and mountains rush to the sea, and lovely little roads twist between hill and valley. From rock and sand to verdant slopes covered in Bougainvillea, a prettier or more exotic place to ride is hard to imagine.

Mexico inspires many a musician as well. A listen to Ry Cooder's "Maria Elena" or "Cancion Mixteca" demonstrates the romance of Mexico's themes of guitar mystique.

When the snows of New England come this winter I will dream of motorcycling to Mexico. In physical reality I'll be here, laughing, skiing and otherwise doing what we do each year in the frozen North, but with a longing.

My nights will be filled with dreams of riding the Mexican coast from village to village till I reach the Bay of Banderas. Sunrise on the Bay is quite special, as one can see from the photo I've posted above. This was taken at dawn, at that critical time just before the sun rose over the eastern horizon.

I'll see my fellow dreamers on the way, or if not, perhaps when I reach El Faro.

September 08, 2006

The Wild Strawberry


Tiny Wild Strawberry, originally uploaded by dnhoshor.

Walking in a forest or field one discovers life profligate.

Take, for instance, the happening upon a patch of wild strawberries in late summer. What a find!

If you touch and smell the berry you can feel its pulse of fructose sweetening, its burst of watery growth.

Pick one and give it away. What a gift!

On my next ride through the wild I hope to see again many such tiny miracles of life. The strawberries may be past for now, but they will return again, and again, and........................

September 07, 2006

We Must Learn Patience


Kirstenbosch
Originally uploaded by Light Traveler.
I enjoyed Chinese cuisine for lunch today.

A fortune cookie lifted my spirits: "Begin....the rest is easy," my little oracle of pulp declared.

True enough; but beginning also requires patience. The gardener might rush to plant a seed, but the flower will not rush. The flower will abide its time until it can bloom in peace and earnestness.

We are all flowers in this sense. We must learn patience.

September 06, 2006

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD


many a winding turn
Originally uploaded by Light Traveler.
Desire

WE WILL MEET ALONG THE WAY

"We'll meet along the way, I know. Go straight and true. Go straight and true. We'll meet along the way, I know."

So begins The Hems latest album, "Funnel Cloud." And it's a lovely album filled with melodic songs of journeys, roads, and discoveries.

The second song, "He Came to Meet Me," tells of a woman visited by a man who found her in her neighborhood and told her stories until she fell in love with him. "The dream was a lot like this, but I never knew, until he came to meet me."

And so it goes with great songs of the highway. From the tear-jerk ballad "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" to "He Came to Meet Me," tales of the road, of life renewed through the discovery of who we might actually be, not stuck in the who we've been, but liberated in the who we might be allowed to become.

Ride my friends. Find out where you can go and who you might become.

Moonset

The sun rises,
the moon sets.
All is in balance.

September 03, 2006

SEPTEMBER CHANGES


Few months stand out for our annual reawakening as much as September.

For the young September is "Back to School" month. For others September marks the commencement of Fall, a time when crisp air fills the lungs and once green foliage evolves into hues as varied as dobs of paint on an artist's pallet.

September is a time of discovery.

Motorcyclists in the Northeast adore Fall riding. The coolness of an early morn's departure gives way to the warmth of late morning sun. So, too, the cozy afternoon air turns colder as the sun begins to set.

It's all good!

Fall evenings spent by a crackling fire sparkle with an embrace hard to surpass. Add good friends, a glass or two of yummy wine, and the conversation floats away on invisible wings.

I welcome September's arrival. May there be many good rides for all of us this Fall. And if we chance to meet at the evening fire, may we enjoy the wine and conversation till the wee hours bring us to rest.

September 02, 2006

TUSCAN ZEN


Podere Corniuzza
Originally uploaded by Podere Corniuzza.
In a dream I feel the pull of Tuscany. The air is filled with odors of olives, grapes, and rich soil. A small house offers refuge and repast after a long day's ride.

The Rain Has Come


Pouring rain
Originally uploaded by dr.zeppo.
Ernesto's heavy rains remind me of a poem, titled Rain, by Ross TenEyck


"On a cool sea breeze she comes in from the west,

the Rain Woman, the ocean's daughter,

dressed in windblown tattered grey that smells of the sea.

She is bringing me stories from her mother's house."