There are a lot of rides I want to make.
Less than 200 miles from my driveway and the Vespa will be winding along the Blue Ridge Parkway. And the Adirondacks are a mere 300 miles away. Celebrating the birth of a new year fuels speculation of things that may become real. Dreams and plans for tomorrow and beyond. But perhaps the new year is closer. Right in front of me.
Earlier I took a ride on New Year’s eve — late afternoon in the frigid air under a sunny sky — to see the ice sculptures in town that will be part of the First Night celebrations in State College, Pennsylvania.
The wandering ride into town required special attention because in places the snow was blowing making two-wheeled travel challenging.
Life unfolds right here, right now. Thoughts of long rides to new places are nice, but they do shift attention away from the ride I’m on right now. Either with the Vespa, or in my reclining chair with the dogs at my feet as the clock nears midnight on New Year’s Eve.
It was cold this afternoon. Just 11F, cold and at the limit of what my hands can deal with using only light gloves and heated grips. The sunshine helps, but if I were going to ride more than 30 minutes I would need to shift to the electric gloves.
Lots of people turned out to watch the ice sculptors at work. When there are so many people on the street all the rules of parking evaporate. I probably could have left the scooter parked in the middle of things.
Many of the sculptures were designed specifically with photography in mind — backdrops for people to stand or sit while documenting their engagement with the celebration.
Lots of energy goes into these celebrations. From the men and women carving ice to the people who build the schedules of performers entertaining through the day and on into the wee hours of the new year.
On a personal level, the new year provides me an opportunity to reflect on the life unfolding before me. While dreams of riding to new places is fun, circumstance brings my travels closer to home. I want to see the sunrise on the road. Sleep on the ground one more time. Sit with back against a rock while looking out across a fine vista with a cup of tea in my hand courtesy of my battered little Thermos bottle.
The New Year is a state of mind. Reflective. Meditative. Contemplative. For me at least. And some of the time I’ll be having dreams of Vespa scooter rides.
As the year launches I wish each of you reading the time and space to find your own meaning and action.
Have fun on the road. Be good to yourselves. Give others a break.