We’re All on the Road Somewhere
(Three weeks before departure on solo cross country trip.)
“Once you realize that the road is the goal,
and that you are always on the road,
not to reach a goal but to
enjoy its beauty and its wisdom,
life ceases to be a task and
becomes natural and simple.
In itself an ecstasy.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
It was beautiful riding Big Red to work this week. It’s a 100 mile round trip but a pleasant one. It helps get me in the mood for my upcoming trip. Today the sky was aqua colored with vibrant white, charcoal and purple clouds. Dogwoods were still in bloom and I passed a field that was just like one in Ireland I used to see. Bright green grass, buttercups and dandelions and brown horses. So beautiful. I was thankful, and giving thanks when three trucks hauling logs came past me on the two lane Highway 140, outside of Adairsville. I ducked behind the windscreen as dirt and bark and small stones flying like shrapnel hit the bike and my leg. I tensed up, but as I pulled away I started repeating the words of Thích Nhất Hạnh: “Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile.” I repeated them like a mantra until I got to a roadside oasis-Hardees restaurant. I’ve written about the wonders of this place in previous posts.
Still grinning I went in. “What you having honey?’ The woman behind the counter asked. I got my usual-steak and egg biscuit with coffee for my thermos.
As I waited I heard them laughing and teasing each other and joking with the customers.
“Ma’am, I want that burger with mustard and no ketchup.”
“I put the no ketchup on it.”
The stammtisch, the regulars, were gathered in the back and across from me were two guys wearing Harley baseball caps. I’m sitting at a spot where I can watch the bike. My black Shoei helmet is on the table and I’m eating, still wearing my fingerless gloves. It’s peaceful and folks are friendly; all on the road to somewhere.
I make it to work and attend meetings all day. You’ve been there. You know what that feels like. Then, back on the bike and heading home. The interstate is buzzing and I set the cruise control for 70 mph and relax. Until. Until I start to see strips of rubber tires on the highway and realize that the truck in front of me is throwing live road gators (shreds of tires) at me. I figure the tire was about to blow so I opened up the throttle to 85 mph and barreled around the truck.
No other mishaps on the way home. I passed Character’s restaurant and smelled the barbecue in the air. If the scent of that don’t cause you to give thanks to the good Lord I don’t know what will. I passed a traffic accident and said a prayer. Flew past two men fishing in a small lake by the road, houses with chairs on the porch and coming in to Rome I saw blooming purple irises. If we take the time to look there are so many things to give thanks for while we’re on our road.
When I got to Rome I stopped at Old Havana Cigar Bar to chew the fat with Ronnie and JJ.
Riding a motorcycle is a physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual adventure. I wish I’d said it but the quote goes: “I’d rather be riding my motorcycle thinking about God than being in church thinking about my motorcycle.”
Good luck on your road and ride safe.