Not everything here is about riding. It’s a means to an end. I’m never sure what I’ll discover on the road.
A dozen personal journals found their way to the landfill. Years of thought and complaint vomited on the page. Memories suspended in ink on hundreds of pages of paper. Free now of the weight of their presence.
Riding the Vespa scooter earlier in the day after an appointment with my cardiologist; wandering in mind and body and thinking of the past.
Wondering about the future.
The cool, autumn air keeps me bright and awake as it seeps across my skin. A sure sign of sloppy preparation and attention to detail — typical of early cold season riding.
The doctor swept the past aside as we talked about the future — medication, exercise, diet and lifestyle, the magic mix that increases the odds for healthy years ahead. Only my own thoughts keep me oppressed by the past. In this case — a heart attack.
Those discarded journals had their own power to oppress just as beliefs and assumptions and physical possessions can. It’s easy to become chained and weighed down without even realizing the ponderous load being dragged along. Slowly I’m working to free myself so I can experience more fully what’s right in front of me.
Riding the scooter through the woods is an exercise in simplicity. It expects nothing from me save for the basic skills required to safely operate. In that simple act is the space to observe chains and baggage, and hear the seductive song that softly winds through them. It’s the rare ride where I return home with no education.
Standing on the road admiring the autumn leaves that shimmer in the present I understand why I’m having so much trouble cleaning things up — not just old journals but mountains of prints and negatives from decades old assignments, magazines and books, mementos of past glories, and myriad other stuff that I’ve not looked at in decades. Their soaked with the power of the past and whisper of their importance.
I understand now they just get in the way of living today.
I’ve struggled for decades with meditation — a fleeting bird that I cannot identify or capture. Always reaching for that quiet space where I may find myself for a moment. And then the Vespa appeared. Clean, quiet, simple. And with no past.
Riding conjures an unexpected gift — the quiet state I had pursued with meditation. Riding the scooter faithfully drains away the noise and confusion that stand between me and some understanding of what’s going on in my life now. What I should be doing now. The fact that it’s fun is just icing on the cake.
I wonder sometimes if I ride solely as an excuse to be alone with my thoughts. Or find myself sitting with a cup of tea and scratching a few ideas on paper before they vanish in the noise. Honoring the past but firmly committed to the present and not allowing myself to be oppressed by the past. Especially as it’s represented in physical items and possessions.
Feels good to let go.