Saturday, 25 October 2014

100 kms of Healing

The titles for my posts tend to just come to me and I go with it. I did have second thoughts about this one though, just because it seemed to be a bit melodramatic. Alas it reflects how I felt, so there ya go. I woke this morning at 5:00 AM. That has happened a few times in the past week...not sure what's up with that but I wake and then cannot seem to settle back to sleep. So by 5:30 I was up, coffee on and toast and PNB on the standard breakfast. To occupy  myself I opened the briefcase and did almost two hours of planning for work for next week. My job is very demanding time wise and the duties are quite diverse. I have found detailed planning is the only way to keep a handle on things or else the tail starts wagging the dog, so to speak. By 7:30 I was more than tired of work, physically tired as well, and yet unable to go back to sleep. For me this is  a recipe for a drop off in my mood. My go to pick-me-up is my motorcycle, which I haven't had a chance to ride all week because of late days at work.

Anyway,s the forecast called for low winds but a light rain, so by 8:00 I had called my frequent riding buddy, and notorious early riser, Frank, and we made a plan for some rolling therapy. Well, the forecasters got the wind part of their prediction right, at least. There was barely a breeze. But light rain...not so much! By the time we had geared up and headed out it was coming down pretty heavily and blue flashes of lightening lit the sky. The prudent thing to do would probably be to admit defeat and hope for better weather tomorrow. However, I'd already suited up and ridden to Frank's and after riding even that far, I was feeling better, such is the power of the bike. So, I persevered. Frank to his credit was willing to go along for the ride, literally. However, as we headed out the TCH the rain was creating rivers and hydro-planing became a real risk. We pulled of at a exit ramp and Frank seemed to exercise common sense and turned for home. Me...I needed that ride!

 I headed out of the city, albeit at a reduced speed compared to my usual pace. There was a lot of water on the highway. Still, heading out the TCH at between 90-100 kms/hr the elements made the ride enough of a challenge to make it an enjoyable adventure. Then, in the distance in my rear view I see this set of headlights that I know are from a bike. Before too long Frank pulls up along side in true one-for-all and all-for-one that's a friend. We continued on out the TCH in the rain and now fairly thick fog too. Our initial plan was Whitbourne about 75 kms west of St. John's but I was feeling kinda guilty about bringing Frank out in these conditions, so we opted to turn off at Holyrood, about 25 kms shy of Whitbourne, and take a secondary road back toward the city. Along the was we decided to stop and visit with another buddy and fellow rider. That too was part of the healing process. By the time we left Hap's place, fortified with a cup of coffee and chocolate chip cookie supplied by his lovely wife Denise, I was feeling much better. Slipping back into wet gear isn't a lot of fun, though.

Anyways, we made our way back into the city at a leisurely pace and my alleged water proof riding suit is  now drying out down in the laundry room. My boots and gloves are by the heater in hopes of better weather tomorrow. All told we barley travelled a hundred kms...a short jaunt for me. But the ride; Frank's sticking with me; and hanging out with our buddy Hap and the lovely Denise, all did wonders for my mood. Oh, I'm still tired but I came home to a nice hot lunch made by the world's best wife and I'm pretty sure I'll get through the rest of the day, hopefully no worse for wear. My mood is healed, at least for the time being and that's how I have to take day at a time.

Thanks for dropping by. I wish a few more of you would leave comments. I get anywhere form 40 to 60 hits per post and I have no idea who is reading, but apparently I have an international audience in addition to the local hits I get. 'Til next time, I'll see Ya Out There! Ride On...

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Refueling the soul

When I was a kid being raised staunch Catholic I was taught the soul was that part of you the lives on after you die; the entity that goes to heaven or hell depending on one's earthly lifestyle. I still like to believe there is something better after this life but I'm not sure what element of my being or with what  level of consciousness I will experience it. I have come to think of my soul, though, as my spirit, the piece of me that processes how I experience daily life and how I represent myself to the world in response to those experiences....and now a note about the weather. One of my posts from a few months back described spring as a season that nudges along. Truth be told, I don't think Newfoundland has spring, at least not like the season other places have, where one gets the sense summer is just around the corner. Fall here, though, it arrives differently and definitely; a clear precursor to the misery that is our winter. That isn't to say our Fall is miserable. It's actually much nicer than our spring.

 When the "dome of dullness that was August" lifted it was September and there was a definite feel of Fall in the air. Oh we still got a fair bit of sun and some days above 20, but the breeze had a coolness and the nights now required a jacket if you wanted to sit outside. of course, also with September came the end too of my holiday break. Year 28 as an educator began with the start of this school year. I have to be honest, I don't have the same enthusiasm for it that I once did. I think I still do a competent enough job but I do find the stress affects me far more than it used to and my belief that I will effect earth shattering change has long been tempered with a healthy dose of realism... though not cynicism, I hope. Anyways, it is in that context that I seek out and wring joy from the "moments" of escape, also the topic of an earlier blog.

This past two weekends provided several moments of happy distraction, with a little bit of white knuckle riding mixed in for Sherry & I. Last weekend Sherry and I headed out over the TCH under sunny skies with a forecast that promised a window of clear weather for a couple of hours. Within half an hour however, the sky had blackened and rain was coming in sheets. The wind gusts made the return trip back to town quite an adventure. The next day proved more amenable to riding. Though somewhat breezy on the TCH, my buddy Frank and I headed out and did make it as far as Goobies for  some lunch, a round trip of about 300kms.

Early October delivered another pleasant enough weekend this past couple of days. Yesterday was one of those rarest of rare days with virtually no wind. It was cool but not cold and the bike was running very well in the fall air. As I gazed over the windshield at the open highway ahead of me I had a strong feeling of tranquillity. For that couple of hours over those few hundred kilometres and at a rapid pace, all wearying worries of the week that was or the week to come were gone. There was only the thrill of accelerating into a straight-away or leaning into curves as though I was on rails. I need such times if I am to have any chance of dealing with the stressors reality throws at me. Goobies was again my destination and I had a great lunch at Breens before hitting the road for the return leg. Once back in town we were invited to supper and a fire at friends, Kevin and Loretta Toope. Outside of riding, the serene feeling of tranquillity I get from having a rum and staring into a blazing fire is one of my favourite experiences and another of those soul refuelling moments. As well, the friendship of kind and genuine people is a real blessing and I consider myself fortunate to have this.

None of the things I have written about here would have any meaning, however, if not for the fact that I have the foundation for  happiness and peace in the companionship, support and love of my wife Sherry. I frequent marvel in utter disbelief on the serendiptious events that brought us together in August of 1987. I am lucky and blessed beyond measure for the wonderful life she has given me. Everything we do together picks me up from whatever daily experience may have pushed me down. Today we had a grand hike of about 5 kms and racked up another 150 kms on the bike, although the weather network was again off in its time frame for good weather. We did manage to get back in off the highway without getting too wet and the rain held off hitting St. John's long enough for us to partake in one of our favourite simple pleasures, sharing a piece of dessert and a coffee/tea at the Rocket it was bread pudding.

So all in all it was a positive weekend. Work begins again tomorrow and I don't know what the week holds in store for me but I at least have the fuel to attempt to tackle whatever is week at a time is how I am approaching year 28.

See Ya Out There...Ride On!