I took a ride tonight at dusk, just an hour-long dash around new roads in the cold air. The temperature was in the 30s and as I rode along my hands started to get numb but I kept riding, content to watch the sky change color. I turned left and right on a whim. I wasn’t in a hurry to get anywhere and I started thinking about what I had to say this week, maybe something about Thanksgiving?
You can think a lot, and deeply, in that bubble of motion and exposure and I thought again about my father and what I wouldn’t give to have him back for a day to lean over a bike, twist a wrench, and share a beer with. I thought about what I wouldn’t give to have Devon at eight years old again, tapping me on the shoulder when she was ready after hopping up on my Nighthawk to go for a ride, ordinary moments I either never had or was missing.
As I rode I started to feel a bit silly to be mourning these losses, embarrassed that I went there rather than celebrating the cosmic accidents that had to occur for me to have had those experiences at all. I realized I didn’t need to mourn those things. I just need to mount up, put my face into the wind, and let those memories wash over me and live in that land of nostalgia for a while. The pain always subsides to joy if you ride far enough. What you think you’ve lost is given back in the form of a memory, to be lived again.
This is why we ride isn’t it, to live twice? One reason anyway. As Dan Millman wrote in The Way of the Peaceful Warrior “there are no ordinary moments” but we forget that sometimes and they slip past us until one day we wish them back again. Doing what you love is the best way I know of to relive those lost moments from your past and to experience them again more profoundly than you did the first time.
So what am I thankful for? Well, today, on this ride, I find myself thankful for a purple-orange sky, some cherished memories, and a motorcycle as a means to revisit them.
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