Just when you think the sailing is smooth – the gravy has no lumps and the light at the end of the tunnel will shine you into a better day – the curve ball you never ceased to hit right out of the park has you swinging at nothing but air. Life tricks us – takes us – breaks and makes us. There is nothing that is ever promised – no certainty known and there is never more than this exact moment we are standing inside of – and we may need to be reminded of that from time to time.
The bags were packed. The boots were shined. Errands were run and I was heading home to finish up all the last minute details. The bike was prepped and ready to roll down the road to adventure and the great unknown. I was a day away from my annual road trip on my Harley and could not have been more ready to face the sun and smile through the miles my Sporty would take me. The routes were studied and planned – the endless highways to escape the urban jungle and mountainous roads to lean into and experience the quiet, peaceful curves of this beautiful country I call home. What could be more freeing – more anticipated than the open road, good friends, solo time inside my kaleidoscopic mind spending days on the back of my bike – it was going to be so fucking amazing – how blessed was I? I was already there – if only in my dreams…..
I didn’t see it coming. Over 35 years of riding experience and I never saw it coming. In the blink of an eye I was laying face down on the hard ground – my beautiful bike scraped and still – lying next to me. It only took a moment for me to realize what had happened. The perfect day had turned into the most unbelievable nightmare. I shook the fog and disbelief from my head as I stood and turned in circles trying to comprehend the scene around me. There would be no vacation – there would be no adventure on the open road – there would be nothing but an ambulance ride and a night spent on morphine and ice chips. Life turns baby – and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. We are but pieces of a puzzle – tokens on a game board – oh hell – why not – dust in the wind…..it is humbling and life changing when we are reminded and when we remember that ultimately we do not control our destiny – plans made are no more than hopes shared – and in the vulnerability of circumstances inevitable – we learn to accept the things we cannot control – we learn to live an authentic life.
And in the hours after the accident spent in self pity and denial – if we are blessed and lucky – we find faces of love and compassion surrounding us. We get cards and letters, messages and calls. Old friends, new friends and family reach past themselves and remind us that we are loved and remembered. Spicy chicken sandwiches make it past the nurses station and familiar faces comfort us with assurances that every little thing gonna be all right. Well wishes sincere and empathetic flowers envelope us as we heal and regain our footing and slowly reenter the land of the living. Once we get safely home – ice packs, Norco, red wine and The Goonies therapeutically get us past the physical pain even as we torture ourselves with the mind fuck of what if’s and if only’s….But the body is an amazing thing – and the mind even more so – we heal – we survive – we live to face another day and share the lessons learned…..
It is all so simple really. Be nice. Be true. Use your words for good. Embrace the joyous circumstance. Say thank you and mean it. Tell her that she is beautiful. Face the sun and run into the waves no matter how cold that water may feel. Take the hand of a stranger and walk towards the unknown. Open the door for others and take a moment to find compassion for the one who drives you mad. Cry the tears and roll in unedited laughter – make a scene baby – rock that stage – sing that fucking song. Stay in bed a little longer and take that kiss a little further – taste the sweetness – it really is all around us. Eat the cake and drink the wine – love the girl and tell her all the secrets you have kept locked deep inside. Hold the baby and read that story a thousand times when a child asks – because nothing is promised – there is no certainty other than this moment – this exact moment in time. Live outside of yourself – give more than you take – be kind – try.
My bike will be up and running in a couple of weeks. The bruises are all but healed as the summer closes in all around me. I am ready to ride – ready to face the sun and smile into whatever the day may bring to me. I do not fear what I have loved so dearly – I will not hesitate to continue to ride and experience life from the seat of my Harley. Take no prisoners my friends – live well – turn each corner with hope and the resolution to do better – to always do better. And most importantly on this road we travel – to all my biker friends – Ride Safe.
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About K. Guzman
Kathy grew up all over the US - lots of east coast time. She is a surfer girl with an unabridged curiosity. A woman whose mid life awakening continues to bring her to the place she was meant to be. Her degree in Journalism/Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida is being yanked from the archives and put to good use. Her two kids are grown and rock stars in this wild world – her Harley is ready for some serious summer miles – and her heart remains open to life, women and the possibilities each day brings.