This photo was made on the way to work just a mile from home on a less than direct route.
There’s a ritual that blooms each morning with the return to consciousness. Eyes scan the room, hand reaches for the water glass and the dog stirs in anticipation of a new day. Simple moments gather momentum from bed to shower and on toward the back door; two dogs now prancing as if today will be the best day ever.
During those moments I glance out the window, a sneak peak of the story that might unfold in the next minutes and hours. When I see fog, like the dogs, I prance. Edging toward the end of the 62nd year on earth I feel lucky that I can be pushed to prance. The crashing of waves on a rocky coast, a sudden rainbow after a storm, tall white clouds against a strong blue sky — each has the power to unleash a dancing sprite that still breathes inside. Riding a scooter has added years to that dancer’s life.
And my own.
The prospect of riding to work in the fog causes all to fade in anticipation of the grey shrouded world of mystery and imagination. An ordinary, pedestrian trip from home to office becomes an epic journey of struggle and revelation.
I love riding a Vespa in the fog.
Some of the most dramatic landscapes are revealed beneath a clearing sky. Sometimes those moments are fleeting as the clouds break for an instant allowing the light to change. And then it’s gone. I’ve watched the weather move through the Nittany Valley for over 40 years and it still holds my attention.
Riding a Vespa in the fog provides more opportunity to see the landscape that I ever did in a car.
Absent a horizon I can imagine roads stretching across great distances, I feel my spine stretch and stiffen, girding myself for adventure if only on a miniature scale. Riding has switched on genes first programmed when prehistoric ancestors pursued mastodons and saber toothed tigers — business of life and death that few riding on the roads of America ever approaches. For a few minutes I am more, greater than my self. Riding provides a lavish physical and emotional connection to the world. Fog transforms it to a realm of magic.
Let no rider be lured by fog’s siren song onto the rocks. There is much to tend in the real world — concerns for visibility both by the rider of others and others of the rider. Fogged visors and slick roads add to the challenge.
And the risk.
I never tire of considering risk. I value my life and respect the threats to it but I do not dwell on unfortunate coincidence or disaster. I never ask, “What if this happens to me?”. I always ask, “What if I have to stop riding?”
It’s a dark world in which I can’t ride. I know it will happen someday. Choosing to stop riding is as puzzling to me as people who surrender their dog or cat to the pound because they purchased a new carpet. Things change.
Riding is indelibly etched in my DNA and has waited for decades to surface. There are no cures or 12 step programs. Only the burden of desire carried each day that claws inside whining and snarling to ride.
Fog only stirs the beast.
What ignites your riding desire?