It feels so good to be home! I've been traveling for the past 12 days and it was heaven to crawl into my own bed last night. Vacations are great, but there's nothing like the comfort of your own space!
Today I would like to share with you a wonderful experience that I had while I was gone. After an incredible 8 days in New York City, I traveled to a friends home in Virginia, just outside Washington D.C. To my surprise, he asked me to follow him into his garage, opened the door, handed me the key to one of his motorcycles and told me to get on. We weren't just going for a ride, he was going to TEACH ME HOW TO RIDE!! I jumped up and down like a little girl! I have a Vespa 250 scooter, so I've ridden, but c'mon......it's a scooter! There are no gears.... just the accelerator and the brake. This was the real thing, and this was something that I've wanted to do for a long time. When I was 18, I read the book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and I have never forgotten the descriptions in that book of what it is like to ride, and more importantly, what it teaches you about life. It was time I experienced a small portion of that! So there I was on the back roads of Virginia, experiencing the wonderful feelings that Robert M. Pirsig described in that book. He said, "You see things vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other. In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it, you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame. On a cycle the frame is gone. You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming. That concrete whizzing by five inches below your foot is the real thing, the same stuff you walk on, it's right there, so blurred you can't focus on it, yet you can put your foot down and touch it anytime, and the whole thing, the whole experience, is never removed from immediate consciousness." He was right. I was in the scene. I thoroughly enjoyed my first ride, and even though I most likely won't be running out to buy a motorcycle, I was grateful to have experienced that sense of presence, not to mention another level of self-confidence that I couldn't have gotten without trying it myself. By the way, I now have a real sense of appreciation for motorcyclists. Be aware! Watch for them, and safe travels.
"Unless you're fond of hollering, you don't make great conversations on a running cycle. Instead, you spend your time being aware of things and meditating on them. On sights and sounds, on the mood of the weather and things remembered, on the machine and the countryside you're in, thinking about things at great leisure and length without being hurried and without feeling you're losing time."
-Robert M. Pirsig