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The Long Way Home

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

It was one of those rare, perfect, days to ride. The sun was high, shining in the cloudless, bright blue, sky. The air was warm, with no more than a faint breeze. It was one of those days that I was one with my bike, and felt the bondage of recent years broken as I rode through the Oregon countryside.

At one point I, as I passed the spot where I was hit ten years ago, my body remembered what my mind had buried. It was only for a moment, but I felt the heat of my arm lying on the highway with bits of rocks, dirt, and glass, between my flesh and the scorching pavement.

Flashes of memory, I'm not sure if they were recollections of the actual event or if I was recalling the journal entries I had written following the accident, ran through my mind, people, cars, fears, doctors, and much more.

Minutes after I passed that fateful site I settled back into riding. I felt so free, so unencumbered, so exhilarated, as I traveled the the road I had ridden many times before.

I rode for hours with the indescribable feeling of being set free. I took in all I could of the journey that day, the smell of freshly baled hay, the warmth of the sun on my face, the scent of blooming flowers wafting in the air, and the occasional sting of a bug hitting my face.

Riders know the feeling. The feeling of being one with our surroundings, and the ability to be set free of work, stress, problems, and the like. It is an experience like no other.

On the way home I downshifted as I exited the highway. I'm, not sure why these thoughts entered my mind, but I thought of when I first began to ride. I would call my father each day and ask, "Dad, when will I get this? When will it become natural? When will it become less stressful?"

His answer was that of a teacher of many things. "Teri, you'll become much more comfortable after 400 miles. Each mile after that becomes more effortless. Then one day you'll realize, after many, many, miles have gone by, that sometime in the past it clicked and became second nature."  Perhaps I thought of it because that day, so many years after I first began riding, I recognized how natural it was. I didn't have to think to downshift, I didn't have to think when to roll back the throttle, I didn't have to think about turning on my signals. I just did.

I could see Dad smiling, I rolled back the throttle and took the long way home.


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