Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Hand in Hand

Inspiration is the appeal of some ethereal connection a person finds outside themselves, to something else. An influence on life and perspective. Inspiration can focus a person's goals while it sheds the less important clutter we accumulate. Most of which we hardly realized we've been giving space to, until something inspires us to reevaluate if we're on track with who we intend to be and where we intend to be going.

The Emotional and the Physical. Seems like it takes a jarring life experience to move you off center. Some dramatic influence you can't control, pushing you right off your feet. Often it hurts emotionally. Some of us internalize the pain while others lash out without even realizing it. Others draw back until the storm subsides. Till the waters become calm again.

If you're a rider you tend to react to emotional sizemic shift by finding a direction and heading into it. You ask all your questions to the universe, to your god or even your dead relatives in the the free blowing wind. Its something fairly difficult to explain to a non rider regarding why we ride. Everyone wants soundbite answers to everything nowadays.

Non riders see us in it for the exitement. The truth is, we do it for the fulfillment. Going fast doesn't solve it for us. We're not necessarily looking for a head rush. Closed tracks are meant for head rushes. We're finding fulfillment. You would know this but try to explain to a non rider that riding is to us the initiated, our quiet time. You couldn't put it past them. No way they would believe it. That the rider in motion is the spirit at rest.

People who dabble in bikes don't get it either. Its not a hobby and no, you don't "get it". What you're looking for is somewhere else. Not that the rest of us begrudge you riding, but in all honesty, the image you think is legitimate is hung over us like droll humor on last year's runway models. Perpetuated by a non riding public assuming it understands when it doesn't. That's not anyone's fault, but it is a misperception.

Put another way, the bikes I ride sound like music to me. Moreso because I'm a blues musician. Love the blues. Been playing sax since the seventies as a kid. I didn't realize how lucky I was to be playing with a group whose talent and sense thereof was piqued to every player and note we produced. You couldn't just join. You auditioned. You showed your stuff and then you were placed. A year down the road you were reevaluated. We were about the music. We had to play it at its level, not the other way around. And we had to improvise. Not unlike riding safely.

The sax and the bike are skills to be learned. But it takes a certain amount of talent to use either of them well. Newer musicians think about the exitement of playing in front of a live audience. Non riders think about thrills and spills. The uninitiated only see the end results of attempts at music and riding ability. The unwashed imagine the David Sanborns, the concerts. They flip the cable channels and see people performing stunts and sometimes failing at them. Exitement. Adrenaline.

But riding and playing music aren't about that. They fill a need. They satisfy something deeper. Long term. For me riding is a near uninhibited time of contemplation. Phrasing ideas into coherent thoughts, useful in interaction with others. And music focusses my mind emotionally. Playing jazz and blues really lets me see how the inner guy is doing. Without having to ask him. Fullfillment. Peace.


This piece is dedicated to Micheal Savage, who discussed the subjects of exitement versus fulfillment the other night. The yacht. The bay.