A little over of a year ago in the span of seven days I ended up buying a new scooter and a new car. It was not supposed to work out that way, but it did.
The day after I bought the new scooter while driving to work the van's exhaust system fell and began dragging on the road. Even though I stopped and got everything wired up, the result was a hole in the catalytic converter. That was the bad news. The good news was the following Monday was the beginning of round two of "Cash for Clunkers." And, while during round one, I felt the van was too good to qualify, by round two I knew I had a definite clunker on my hands.
The primary purpose of buying the scooter was to prolong the life of the van. Oh well, now what? I rode the scooter to work a few times and worked at befriending it. Even though I had rain gear I rode only on nice days. Now, that I had a car that got 30+mpg why risk riding in the rain. Sure, I enjoyed the scooter's 70+mpg, but even on the nicest of days the experience of riding was just okay. Just okay.
I signed up for a Motorcycle Foundation Safety (MSF) Course at the local community college and I bought the book Proficient Motorcycling by David Hough. I was determined to make this scooter thing work.
I found the MSF Course to be helpful. It, also, helped me understand a number of things in the Hough's book. I did not enjoy the MSF Course, but this had more to do with my "head issues" than the class or the instructors. I think everyone should take the class. It is important. If they allowed scooters in the advanced classes I'd be there in a heartbeat, even though I suspect I wouldn't enjoy that experience either.
It was early October when I took the Course and the weather couldn't have been more beautiful. On the second day at lunch I commented to one of the instructor's about how nice the weather had been. He agreed, but added, "Sometimes I think it is better when it rains. Sure, it's miserable, but then you learn you can do everything we will do on the course today when it rains." And, I believed him.
On the first rainy day after the MSF Course, having read and reread the portion about riding in the rain in Proficient Motorcycling, I put on my rain gear. I was fearful, but confident. What happened on that ride was marvelous, wondrous and completely unexpected.
Since the accident in 1999 my life has been filled with hesitation, Now I think, then I do. Nothing is spontaneous. Everything happens after the briefest of pauses. No one seems to even notice these small delays, but I do. For this reason I'm drawn to repetitive activities and to remaining in familiar situations and surroundings. These things allow me to lean into these pauses and draw nearer to the seamless cognitive life I once took for granted.
Who knew, that on a rainy day less than a year ago as I mounted my scooter, I would step through a perceptional seam and enter a different brain-scape than I can usually access. As I twisted Lil' Blue's throttle my world opened up, the Autumn colors surrounding me became more vivid, a gentle alertness embraced me, and a peaceful vigilance took hold of my senses. I became both the hunter and the hunted. Excessive thinking fell away and I rode off with no hesitation.
And, now it happens every time I ride, not sometimes when I ride, but every single time I ride. It seems to me to be nothing short of miraculous. I wished it happened at other times, but it doesn't, at least not yet.
As I write this it is the Second Day of Rosh Hashanah and it is raining. Every year for the High Holy Days I do an art piece for a Rabbi friend.
| Seeing the Moment as it Hatches into the Present.|
This year he also invited me to write out a personal intention for the upcoming months. Here's what I wrote:
At Sinai thunder could be seen
Eyes could hear and ears could see
But that was then
Now I often simply sit and listen
Alert for the next sound
Waiting in the silence
For the silence
To break into song
With seeing it is different
I open my eyes and there it is
What if I could bring to my seeing
The alertness and the waiting in silence?
What if I could focus
Beyond expectations and
My narrow point of view?
If so might I glimpse creation
Before my eyes
As it breaks into Being?
If this seeing be possible
Would it allow me to note
The One at play
Sketching painting and engraving What Is
Right before my eyes?
Maybe just maybe
I might hear the color green
Call my name
My intention for 5771 is to seek this seeing.
And my major spiritual practice in seeking this seeing is to ride, ride, and ride some more.