Senior VR Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Thanked 4 Times in 2 Posts
Ride of a Lifetime
“I knew a young lad who went to sea
He left the land behind him
I knew him well
The lad was me
And now I cannot find him”
Ride of a Lifetime
On a morning, a lifetime ago, I packed up and set out alone on my way to I didn’t know where. I traveled a road knowing not where it would lead. I had no map. My choice of way I made on whim alone content to let providence decide my destination. I was riding to, “Where ever I end up I guess.”
I was fulfilled whenever, wherever I happened to be. I was footloose and fancy-free. I knew I couldn’t change the past and I believed I had little control over the future so I enjoyed the present. I tested my limits. I revved my engine to make sure all the people knew I was passing by. I took pride in my arrogance.
I rolled happily along turning off to see where this road or that road would take me. It didn’t matter if the road turned bad, there was always another intersection up ahead and another opportunity to find that perfect ride. Sometimes I found myself going in circles and often wound up back where I started. Not to worry, next time I’ll get it right. I had all the time in the world. I had rules I rode by. I had a general direction, west maybe, or just that-a-way. I was flexible and altered my course as conditions dictated, sort of blown by the wind. There was nobody there to guide me and even if there were I wouldn’t have followed anyway. I stopped only to satisfy my basic needs. I took good care of my ride and my gear but when those duties were seen to I took to the road again to find adventure. I knew I had only one chance to make this a good ride so I crammed all I could into it. I rode fast and put in long days.
I lingered under the shade of giant tree in a park in the middle of a small town and tossed peanuts to the squirrels, I’ve forgotten where. I rode to the top of a mountain, stood at the shore and watched the sun rise, and I watched it set over a different ocean on a different shore. I played in the wind and danced with the highway. I flirted with nature and became an enchanted witness to Her wonders. I felt the power of the land and I knew honest loneliness. I met people, made friends, and found love. I left good friends behind and rode on.
Suddenly I was far from home. The miles had passed so quickly. How could I have come so far so fast? My ride was half over and it came to me that it must one day end. There was so much yet to see and I began to hurry. I became obsessed with seeing more places and more things and I no longer had time for people. They got in my way and slowed me down. I began worrying. What I would do if my money ran out or what if I crashed. I forgot about the ride. Somewhere along the way I lost that fearless confidence that for so long had nourished me.
Summer was over and I turned toward home. I didn’t want this ride to end. I slowed down, stopped more often, and looked at the world anew. My resources were nearly exhausted, my tires were worn and the engine was getting rough but there was enough left if I took it easy. As I cruised I drank in the thrill of the ride as never before. I began to see things rather than look at them. I listened and I felt. I knew exactly where I was going now and I began to understand.
When we think of how old we are age is merely a measure of the volume of the memories each one of us hold. The more memories we hold, the older we are and the shorter is our time. Yet we are all exactly the same age with exactly the same life expectancy. We, every one of us, were new borne this very morning when we opened our eyes. Our span of life is measured in hours, from the time we wake until we sleep again. Tomorrow, maybe, we will be borne again to another chance at living. I’ll not rush through this one day of life. I won’t rail at the Gods because my day is short. I will not waste a second of it on anger or envy or fear or remorse.
The leaves now glory in their sunset colors. The air is crisp. The sun is low on the horizon and the shadows are lengthening. Fall is the most beautiful time of the year I think and sunset the most wonderful time of the day to ride.
One day, one mile, one roadsign, one experience, one view, one friend at a time....