To Paradise


A few days ago I had a day off by myself. I had planned on catching up on chores and obligations, but on a trip to the garage I saw my KLR sitting there, and it was too much to resist. So I got on, figuring maybe a quick ride around the Tahuya loop, then back to chores. I ended up riding to Mt. Rainier. I wrote this when I got home.

It’s that moment. When you’re riding along, and the air smells like pine and cedar and fresh rain and crisp mountain air. And it’s all spiced with a hint of leather, because you throw your gloves in your helmet at every stop.

You’ve avoided the freeways, and if you have to explain why then it’s not someone you want to talk to. Come to think of it, you don’t really want to talk to anyone at all. That’s why the day wasn’t planned. No plans, no announcements, and no invitations. No cell phone, no email or facebook. Just wheels and wind and a wandering mind. The whole point is escape. The further away you get, the lighter the load. You can even ponder, what would happen if I didn’t go back? Not an option, but it all seems possible in the sunshine. On two wheels. Life will pull you back eventually. You can already feel it pulling.

You feel the pull of the universe around every corner, but the wheels are great big beautiful gyroscopes, and they pull you back up every time. Away from gravity, and away from worry and responsibility and bullshit. And for long, comfortable, indulgent but oh so necessary stretches of asphalt there’s just the wind. No stoplights. No traffic. And you’ve never been so sure about anything as you are of this: this is your road. It was designed and built and paved and has been maintained all these years because someone somewhere knew that one day, you would need to escape. You need to run away before you become one of them. You need that stretch of blacktop along the river, and up the mountain and through the sweeping curves amongst the trees. Your soul needs it. Feeds on it. You’re reborn on two wheels. And in the back of your mind you know that it’ll all be there when you get back. The laundry, the dishes, the bills, the empty bank account and the voice mail and text messages and everything else. In the back of your mind, you know. That’s when you downshift, and lean real deep in the next curve. And before you have time to remember that other bill that’s due, that other task that’s late, or that other person that wants that little piece of you, the bike stands back up and you’ve got to throw it into the next corner. You push the handlebars, twist the throttle, and for just a little while… It all clicks. It seems right. Seems worth it.