Seeing It All Again For The First Time
My engine thrummed while birds circled overhead, teasing the Columbia River air with their wingtips. Expert manipulators of space they moved with unconscious subtle gestures, altering their trajectory in anticipation of the next wind shift. Like a road racer making minute course changes with a lowering of the head to the inside of a corner, these birds were masters of instinctual flight. I assumed they were eagles.
Winds accelerate through the Columbia River Gorge’s canyons and cliffs, creating a playground of water and wind.
They were crows. Stupid, ugly, dirty crows. Disappointing.
My mind went back to my mundane ride, another season, another tour, another morning, another mile after dreary mile, another story to write, rewrite and rewrite again until I am so sick of rewriting and editing that I click “send” just to rid myself of it and feed the publishing beast.
When did it happen? How did I become so jaded, so callous? Endless repetition of the spectacular had bred familiarity, a loss of wonder, and the wages of that repetition was complacency.
When did we stop gazing at the mountains? Mt. Rainier as a breathtaking backdrop.
I breathed my deepest inhale, paused, then made my mind anew. What my riding partner Dave “White Girl” and I were doing, it was truly wonderful.
Between our legs, gear driven cams spun with Swiss watch precision pushing us though country Lewis and Clark struggled to explore a mere two centuries ago, a blink in the eyes of time. Exhaust played sound games through the upcoming tunnel and as it piped, we danced. A Penelope’s web of roads unfolded across the country and we explored them, lords of our treasures.
This looks like fun… Lolo Pass, Idaho/Montana border.
White Girl and I, we repeated it all over again. Day after wonderful day we let slip the dogs of war assaulting the northwest with our cacophony of sound and speed, our daily dose of the extraordinary doled out on a land so wondrous that it became dangerously close to ordinary.
Not quite ordinary country. Hwy. 207 from Mitchell to Service Creek, Oregon.
Miles rolled on as our bikes danced our Rigadoon, so then and there I listed the things I resolved to not take for granted: my precious friends, a cool morning, a quick bike, a roll through a canyon and a shot of whiskey at day’s end. Softening my jaded soul meant seeking joy in every moment because at life’s end, I will realize that the little things were the big things. Whom the gods love die young, so God help me if I waste today.
Shouldn’t every ride hold this much wonder? Mt. Constitution overlook, Orcas Island, Washington.
Precious and few are days on the road with such company in a land like this so, in sight of the crows, I determined that no matter how many seasons pass, how many tours I complete, how many miles roll on, I will number them as gifts I do not deserve.
Searching the sky that day I never saw an eagle, but the crows were just as glorious.