“The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
Marcel Proust, Novelist (1871-1922)
Don’t remember the last time I’ve ridden through a new landscape, one I’ve not ridden through or near many times. But I am familiar with the idea of seeing with new eyes. One of the mesmerizing aspects of riding is how often the rarefied, highly focused visual attention to detail to the road opens a door to noticing much more. And in those moments the detail and emotion of even the most familiar places reveal new secrets. Rain, mist, heavy skies — they conspire to recreate the world. And while on the Vespa, I’m a witness. Add to it the free flow of thoughts and feelings and its no wonder a well-traveled path looks new.
Ebenezer Scrooge was asked by Marley’s Ghost in A Christmas Carol about his existence, “Why do you doubt your senses?”
Scrooge responded, “Because, a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”
And so it is while riding, for each time I enter the world on the scooter my senses come under varied influences that can affect what I experience. On this ride the mix of light and air produced a relaxed state of mind where the concerns of living evaporated with each mile I rode. Such is the power the gray and gloomy weather can have over me.
Alone on the Road
Being alone while riding is an expression of mindful meditation. Moto-meditation. Slow, quiet, mindful flight on two wheels of body and spirit. I suspect many riders experience moments of clarity when they ride where questions are answered and problems are solved.
Fire Coming to Foliage
As autumn fattens with color and fallen leaves, my riding sensibility reconstructs itself to embrace the changes demanded by the more erratic road conditions that affect traction. Damp leaves on wet roads are surprisingly slippery, a frightening trap for unsuspecting riders.
Seeing With New Eyes
Spring Creek was swollen with water and mist from the continual rain we’ve had this summer. A cool dampness penetrates me as the scooter winds along the stream, a subtle reminder of the stress to come as I hope to ride through another winter. I’ve been here before. The landscape and feelings familiar. Yet it’s strange and exciting.
I’m seeing with new eyes.