"I Wonder as I Wander, Out Under the Sky." - John Jacob Niles
I like to look at life through the windshield of my Jeep (his nickname is Tonka). No doors and only a brief top to protect me from the direct assault of the heat and rain. The adventure of freedom. The wind carving through the cabin and tossing the hair of every passenger. The road passing just beyond our reach. Tonka helps keep me alive. He keeps me connected to the very moments we are passing through.
One of my favorite authors said it this way:
"In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it's all moving by you boringly in a frame. On a cycle [or in a Jeep] the frame is gone. You are completely in contact with it all. You are of the environment. You are in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming." - Robert Pirsig / Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
I like to look at life that way. But it isn't easy. It's a constant practice to be aware of where you are at this very moment. Looking back you will simply see the path that brought you here. Looking ahead you will simply see the summation of steps you are taking now. But at this moment, right now, you can make a significant difference in that outcome. So be present in THIS scene with those around you.
Of course I have failed miserably at this from time to time. We all have. I'm still learning how to practice these lessons. But honestly, I plan on learning them the rest of my days. I just hope they let me drive a Jeep or a vintage Triumph for every one of them.
My grandfather continues to give me great hope in this. At the age of 86 he sold his last motorcycle. This picture was taken three months earlier at Thanksgiving where we rode together one last time on one of our many 'wondering' trips. Thank you Grandad. I Love you.