It's morning as my eyes greet the first dim light of day. My mind slowly makes it's way from the fog of the previous night's stasis, to a level of just enough conscience thought in order to find my way into the shower so that I may begin my day ah new. But the thought of what this day is requires no introduction to this morn. For indeed I've been waiting a near eternity for this particular morning to begin. As I rise to my feet I stretch long and slow as muscles begin to come to life. Perhaps not with the ease they once did when my body was that of a younger man, but to life they come none the less. To the shower I go to help this process along. For today I will need all these muscles working for me, because today is a special day.
The hot steaming water feels good as it spreads all over my body, chasing the soap bubbles across my skin and down the drain, along with the lethargic state of mind I normally find myself in this time of day. I can feel the steam caressing through my sinuses, clearing my head and bringing my thoughts to life one by one. But there is only one main thought on my mind this morn. So the shower will have to come to an end just a little sooner once it has done it's job in awaking my remaining muscles. On the bathroom counter my cloths await me, just where I staged them the previous night in preparation for today. Black T-shirt, blue jeans, warm socks, all required attire for the day's activity.
Into the kitchen I follow my nose to the smell of fresh coffee. I pour my first cup and watch the amber liquid flow smoothly into the waiting ceramic. As it cools, the steam circles upward, quietly dissipating in the morning light, while I prepare the rest of my attire for the day. To the closet I go, where my winter coat is kept. But the coat will stay this day, my target this morning is on the top shelf. After retrieving them from where they have been carefully stored, I unrole the brown leather chaps that have been so patiently waiting these long winter months. Next, my helmet joins the trio, inside the gloves that are, like the rest, an intricate necessity. They will not only warm and protect my hands from the cold nip of the wind, but also will protect against the sudden impact of an insect. After a draw on my cup of jo, the taste of which no morning would be complete without, I sit in my chair to pull on the boots that have been patiently waiting with the rest of my leather on sombo. A little stiff from a winter of sitting in the closet, but that will soon pass. Once in the garage, I roll open the door and push 700 pounds of Milwaukee iron, highlighted with generous amounts of chrome, all of which glisten like the crown jewels themselves, into the driveway. Once in the open, I check my fuel level, tire pressure, and an assortment of other necessary items prior to bringing my sleeping old friend to life once again. Satisfied that all is well, I turn the petcock to "On," and the tank switch to "Ignition." With that, an assortment of lights tell me all is well. Once the final light extinguishes letting me know the machine has finished it's own checks and is ready as well, I depress the start button and feel my heart race and my blood surge while eighty-eight cubic inches of V-twin roars to life. Music in perfect harmony, s$x on two wheels, I love this sound best of all.
Back in the house to get ready, I find the leather that I have previously neatly laid out on the couch, and begin to don my riding attire. The leather chaps to protect my legs from rocks an insects impacting at 70 plus miles per hour. A hooded sweat shirt for warmth, since winter has not yet fully let go it's grip on the land. Over that, my brown leather jacket, together all feeling as though I was wearing them but yesterday. I return outside to my purring steed, now completely awakened and ready for the journey. On goes my helmet, which after 30 years of riding I've had good reason to always include as a necessity stemming from both my own experiences, and those of others. Some of which ride with me now in spirit alone...
One leg over the saddle, both hands on the grips, I settle into a custom fit all my own. After adjusting my mirrors for optimal viewing, with a gloved hand I pull in the clutch. A gentle nudge with my left toe, and the re-assuring "click" tells me we are ready. With a little finesse back out goes the clutch, and with a corresponding twist of the throttle, we're in motion my steed and I. Through city streets it's a gentle cruise, it's Saturday and the little town has not yet reason to be up and about just yet, so remains in slumber. Once to the highway, and after looking up and down the visible stretch of blacktop, I'm satisfied the road is all mine. With a crack of the throttle, a gentle lean to the right, and five short gears later, my sled and I are once again together in the wind!
Under me the purr of power caresses my entire body, starting with my thighs and arse. I watch as the sun just begins to peak over the distant mountains looking onto the highway to see a lone motorcycle cruising it's length. The land around me comes to life as I pass, a Red-Tailed hawk flies low over a field hunting it's breakfast as I pass by, seemingly unshaken by the sound of my pipes. The brisk morning air breaks over my body, invigorating my senses. The smell of the land filling my nostrils as it swirls within my helmet. I've waited all winter for this moment! Yes, the first ride of the season has begun...
I just received this via email from a friend and it seemed to hit the mark with allot of the individual philosophies on this site, myself included. With that thought in mind, I thought I would share it with you all. I have no idea who wrote it, or when.
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning... to the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years. (1934 - 1998)
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own;
The cars... the house... the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged;
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we've never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile,
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy's being read
With your life's actions to rehash,
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
some of us aren't quite lucky enough to have such eloquence of word as yourself. i have a deep respect for that.
Perhaps not everyone, but after all isn't art a form of self expression? And writing is art. I've always believed that written expression, and the ability to put down on paper feelings, and emotions so that others can feel pain, sorrow, happiness, and quiet reflection is an art unto itself. Eloquence of style is uniquely individual to each and every writer, as are the brush strokes of each and every painter. A writer paints a picture within the minds of those who experience the words, while conveying emotions to the reader, similar to a painter's picture. Your words clearly come from the heart, and easily paint a picture of emotion, and quiet reflection. So grant me this one favor if you would be so kind. Never put down your pen, as I'm certain it still contains within it many more words all very eloquently arranged in order to paint many more pictures within the minds eye.
Steps, always steps. Here, there, everywhere steps! Is not life nothing more than simply yet another row of steps to which we all must climb? Some climb higher than others, while still yet others find ways to side-step life's pre-ordained little steps. There are those that have been accused of cheating fate by somehow being able to stay one step ahead of the game as it were. I suppose its sometimes good to simply face up to ones deepest fears and step up to the plate. While serving in the military I was forever being told I was out of step. I suppose I have always been one to step to the beat of a different drum...
Goodness, will you look at the time! I must step lively least I get stepped upon! So if you'll please pardon my sudden rudeness, I must be stepping out...
Look upon me for I am the night
Gaze unto my endless sky filled with countless shards of light
Stand in wonderment of my vastness, for I am older than time itself,
And I am limitless in my bounds
I am infinity itself
I am both poetry in motion, and contemplation in silence
I am death, and I am life,
I hold many secrets, yet I share many wonders
My movement is irrelevant, my motion but a blur, or a painting frozen in place
Look deep into my eyes and view creation itself
I was your mother, I will be your reaper
I judge not, I simply "do"
I am the night, as I am the day.
Your loyalty matters not to me, I have no need of followers
I was hear when you emerged from dust,
I will see you return to dust
Gaze unto me whilst you ponder your own destiny,
For I am the night...
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life's betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me
I want to know if you can
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
It doesn't interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
It doesn't interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
and not shrink back.
It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.
All out of doors looked darkly in at him
Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars,
That gathers on the pane in empty rooms.
What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze
Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand.
What kept him from remembering what it was
That brought him to that creaking room was age.
He stood with barrels round him -- at a loss.
And having scared the cellar under him
In clomping there, he scared it once again
In clomping off; -- and scared the outer night,
Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar
Of trees and crack of branches, common things,
But nothing so like beating on a box.
A light he was to no one but himself
Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what,
A quiet light, and then not even that.
He consigned to the moon, such as she was,
So late-arising, to the broken moon
As better than the sun in any case
For such a charge, his snow upon the roof,
His icicles along the wall to keep;
And slept. The log that shifted with a jolt
Once in the stove, disturbed him and he shifted,
And eased his heavy breathing, but still slept.
One aged man -- one man -- can't keep a house,
A farm, a countryside, or if he can,
It's thus he does it of a winter night.
The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight, over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.
He'd a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin;
They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh!
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
His pistol butts a-twinkle,
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.
Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
And he tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord's daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.
And dark in the old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim the ostler listened; his face was white and peaked;
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord's daughter,
The landlord's red-lipped daughter,
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say -
"One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I'm after a prize to-night,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way."
He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair i' the casement! His face burnt like a brand
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
(Oh, sweet black waves in the moonlight!)
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped away to the West.
He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon;
And out o' the tawny sunset, before the rise o' the moon,
When the road was a gypsy's ribbon, looping the purple moor,
A red-coat troop came marching-
King George's men came marching, up to the old inn-door.
They said no word to the landlord, they drank his ale instead,
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed;
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side!
There was death at every window;
And hell at one dark window;
For Bess could see, through the casement, the road that he would ride.
They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest;
They bound a musket beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast!
"Now keep good watch!" and they kissed her.
She heard the dead man say-
Look for me by moonlight;
Watch for me by moonlight;
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!
She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till here fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years,
Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold, on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one figure touched it! The trigger at least was hers!
The tip of one finger touched it; she strove no more for the rest!
Up, she stood up to attention, with the barrel beneath her breast,
She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again;
For the road lay bare in the moonlight;
Blank and bare in the moonlight;
And the blood of her veins in the moonlight throbbed to her love's refrain
Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hoofs ringing clear;
Tlot-tlot, tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
The highwayman came riding,
The red-coats looked to their priming! She stood up strait and still!
Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him-with her death.
He turned; he spurred to the West; he did not know who stood
Bowed, with her head o'er the musket, drenched with her own red blood!
Not till the dawn he heard it, his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord's daughter,
The landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.
Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!
Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
When they shot him down on the highway,
Down like a dog on the highway,
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with a bunch of lace at his throat.
And still of a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
A highwayman comes riding-
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.
Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard,
And he taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred;
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord's daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.
We are as a drop of water,
Fallen from the sky.
Lost, yet not alone.
As we search and try.
To find a true path,
Back to the heavens.
Through endless ways,
Of morals and lessons.
Some go quickly,
As they turn to the light.
Others must stay,
To work and fight.
Through the soil and rock.
Of everyday life.
A harsh and seemingly,
Traveling across acres,
And acres of earth,
Twisting and turning,
And seeking their worth.
Gathering in trickles,
And puddles and streams.
Increasing in numbers,
And gravitational means.
Some are lost,
And unable to find.
The will, detennination,
And strength of mind.
That all of us need,
To forge ahead.
With Purpose and meaning,
In what we've said.
To keep us flowing,
As rivers and streams.
To a greater awareness,
An ocean of dreams.
Then to rise from the depths,
Of all that are there.
With the warmth of the light,
Lifted high into the air.
Where once again,
A drop you form.
To fall again,
Lost and forlorn.
TWO WHEEL FEELING
To feel the wind in my face,
And the earth at my side.
Where ever I ride.
The hills, the valleys,
The trees and the grass.
All these things,
I see as I pass.
To turn, to bank,
To cut through the air.
To lean and press,
As fast as I dare.
With grace and balance,
I smoothly flow.
Around each bend,
Still faster I go.
Manuevering each turn,
With the road at my feet.
Not against you,
But myself I compete.
Feeling every inch,
Of road that I cross.
Showing the road,
And myself who's boss.
Of the powerful machine,
I hold in my hands.
As I travel far,
Across many lands.
Seeing and feeling,
The natural beauty there.
Touching and knowing,
And breathing the air.
Every mile that goes by,
Has something to say.
To make it worthwhile,
Each and every day.
As I travel, And ride,
With confidence, And pride.
Anywhere and everywhere,
I should happen to choose.
Meander, race, Ramble. or cruise,
For my two wheels,
Will always take me.
To all the places,
I care to be.