Sometimes the simplest pleasure in the world is doin’ nothin’. There can be so much to see when you’re just standing around being. Life becomes uncomplicated and yet expands far beyond the reaches of your mind.
Not far from Ocotillo, I stood watching some wind turbines and snapping a few pics. I heard a familiar sound in the distance. Two KTMs approached, stopped in the middle of the road and said ‘hello.’
It was obvious I wasn’t in distress so they were just friendly; asking where I was heading. They never asked what I was doing. I’m sure it was obvious and familiar. I wasn’t really doing anything.
Standing around taking photos or just taking in the view seems to be an integral part of motorcycling. You have to stop doing the thing you love, to capture an image of the thing you love. In the stopping, the standing around looking – that’s often where the simple pleasure dwells.
When else do you find yourself standing on the side of the road for no reason at all? On some random Wednesday do you ever pull over in your car, get out and just gawk for a few minutes? I don’t. Perhaps I’m missing out. My brain isn’t wired to relax or see the world from my car. My car seems to be for purpose or task-oriented travel. Not for pleasure like my motorcycle.
Riding across the Mojave from Twentynine Palms on my way to Amboy, California was something of a spiritual experience. Seeing an ocean of sand spill out before me with dappled light spread across the expanse… it is a moment I will never forget. I had many such moments in different desert landscapes around California.
If you asked 21-year-old me what type of riding I would like to do forever and ever and ever – the answer surely would’ve have been twisty mountain roads as fast as I possibly could.
Here I am now in my 40’s smiling back at that narrowminded girl. Such a simple and predictable answer. An answer from a version of me that did not understand the beauty of serenity and solitude. That is what these wide open spaces provide.
On the surface, you might look at the photos and think “boring ride!” But I assure you, nothing could have been further from the truth.
Being in a tremendous expanse gives the mind room to roam unfettered and free.
Some readers may not realize that I’m a mom to a teenage daughter. That is a direct results of me not posting openly about her. There are things in my life that are private. And in that regard, I view the majority of her life as being not mine to talk about here. Other than in offhanded ways, I try to respect her privacy. Her stories are her own to tell… or not.
There is also the matter that I go off and independently do things that some people might view as questionable for someone who is a mom. Dads don’t seem to get quite as much grief.
I have had judgement levied against my parenting by people who read this blog and know exactly ZERO about my “real life.” They’ve said things like “What kind of mother goes off and leaves their kid at home…” And while I rationally know it’s none of their business or that they don’t know the reality of my familial situation – still, it stung.
“How could you ride a motorcycle when you have a kid at home?”
For some people, this seems to be the high watermark of terrible parenting. My motorcycling shows a blatant disrespect for life and for the role of mother. Any positive results of my mom-dom were surely accidental.
“What if something happened to you?!”
Well, I don’t know? What if something happened in a 12 car pile-up on my way to work? I do that 5 days a week.
From my point of view, the things that we teach our children are in the doing. Will my daughter approach life unafraid? Will she be at ease with following her heart? Will she move through the world unapologetically guilt-free – following her whims? Will she be brave? Will she know that above all else she is her own person and not part of a “pair” of people or someone else’s something? If any of those things are true and if by chance my kind, intelligent, blessing of a daughter learned any of them from me – I think I will have done alright as a mother.