When was the last time you thought about a kiss? I think most of us have reached a point in our lives where a kiss is just a kiss. It is a common gesture that has lost it's poetry. To connect with someone else on a level so intimate and true, making the hands shake, the hearts race, and every aspect of the act amplified to a deafening level. A kiss at it's purest, is a delicate dance, like jazz. Improvised alchemy between players interpreting another soloist in such a deep way that they begin to accompany each other. Reading ques from grace notes, body posture, facial expression and reaction to rhythm. The ultimate combination of interpreting landscape, and receiving new stimuli in perfect symbiosis.
Repetition is the enemy of art. It takes the miraculous and reduces it to mundane. The flowing dance down to a traffic, choked commute. It points the eyes downward, and removes the majesty from our life. Most of us walk through the world never seeing the glorious details of lives we could lead. We could be surrounded by adventure, with the electric feeling of that magical, intertwined, first real kiss.
The key to rebirth is to experience new things in alien environments. When I first started riding, the one dominating theme that gripped my daydreams was that all those trails were sitting right there, just out of sight, along the road I drove everyday. While I was cursing my fellow Cretans in rolling cans, someone was a hundred yards away railing a turn, full pedal on Fern. Once this secret became part of my life, I was never the same. It dressed my daily routine in stockings, garters, stilettos and a wig. It elevated my perception of what I thought I knew, into an exotic beast I didn't recognize. It made it impossible to ever see the familiar in the same way again.
My riding and my routine has fallen to robotic levels of normalcy. The same rides, the same length, the same lines. I wear the crew kit, I do the loop and come home feeling like I have done my duty. I fight the fellow commuters on my once beloved trail, slamming on brakes for errant interlopers, oblivious to any thing outside the borders of their narrow circle of perception. I mourn the loss of the dance. I dream of shaking hands reaching for forbidden triangles of white skin, hidden from the sun and eyes of all, but the most trusted and loved.
A few months ago The Big Wormster and I rode some of the local obstacles with flat pedals. I wore baggies and my skate helmet. I lowered my seat. I wore a t-shirt. I was for that brief time a new person. I rode things I had never ridden before. I was baptized in the cool liquid of the unfamiliar. I could not get the images out of my mind and found myself looking out the window with wonder again. I wanted that feeling back.
If you took that painting and stretched it out to cathedral sized proportions, that would give you a peep hole view of what I experienced riding a big travel bike, in the mountains of Ligonier. Wearing bizarre accoutrement's like knee and shin guards, elbow and forearm pads, riding a heavy behemoth that bobbed with every effort, over rocky, muddy, rain soaked terrain. It was as if someone had removed my skin and poured lime juice all over me. It reminded me that I could have done it all along. I had the ability to be reinvented. All I needed was the gear, the inclination, and a willing accomplice.
So ya..... I know that this is the equivalent of adopting a fake Latin accent and pretending to be Raul the pool boy. But hey, if a little cocoa butter and massage get you and a woman pretending to be a rich heiress to the holy land a little sooner,.....so be it. I could have saved us all a lot of trouble, by just saying I want a big travel bike, so I can wheelie drop some of the new stuff the local free riders have built but, wheres the fun in that?
More on the trip later.