“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Riding lets my mind wander and gnaw on things. Like why Christmas feels so different now than it did as a child. Where has the magic gone? Or maybe it’s right here and I don’t even realize it. Christmas means many things and each of us has a different experience from a devout religious embrace to the more secular versions complete with the attendant commercial trappings. I have my own journey through the holidays helped by the focusing nature of a ride on two wheels.
Two years ago on Christmas Eve I was riding the Vespa in a light falling snow in Rothrock State Forest. This year the temperature will be above 60F with light rain. So I looked into my image archive in hopes of finding a little holiday spirit and a Vespa Merry Christmas.
The contrived attempts at seasonal imagery make me smile — and wonder if I could have been electrocuted? It was cold that night and making images with a self-timer on the camera while tethered to lights was a bit frustrating. I don’t recall saying “humbug” though.
I had to include a shot of bringing the Christmas tree home on the back of the Vespa. This was the second time I had undertaken the task and it go a lot of attention from people passing by. In my head as I imagine the “ideal” holiday image I see the Vespa hauling a tree along a snowy road in Currier and Ives fashion.
Seven years ago the tree in our front yard was covered in snow. It reminds me of the feeling I had growing up at this time of year. The magic of lights and dreams and expectations. And the world felt softer and for a time friendlier.
Riding can distill perception to a hyperfocus on the road and the scooter and little else matters — especially when snow is involved. For me, that intense focus opens a door to other things — like the meaning of Christmas. I don’t believe I’ll ever completely exhaust exploration of that topic, at least I hope I don’t ever tire from it, but I have learned a few things.
As much as I like buying things and giving gifts, as the Grinch ponders, Christmas doesn’t come from a store. In Christmas I feel the opportunity for renewal and rebirth in the family of man. What looks dark is bright and hope abounds. And a kinship with others on this mortal coil made just a bit easier with a smile, some cheer and the magic of the holiday.
To each of my friends and acquaintances, to those who read and follow the scooter through the sticks, to all those people known and unknown — I wish you a Merry Christmas. I hope you find your own path through the holiday.