Sunday, October 10, 2010

Embracing Life

My promise to share my experience at Dave’s photo shoot and post some of the snap shots I took with my own camera will have to wait. I want to give Dave the opportunity to post up his photos first. It is only then that you will be able to appreciate the contrast between a snap shot and professional photography. As with all of us, Dave was up to his eyeballs in work related responsibilities and is now off for a much needed break, away from technology and off the grid.

With Dave away, I turned my focus to the family. While I have left Blaze waiting to test out her new front tire, I had the pleasure of watching Conner discover the world with first time experiences. When watching a child filter new experiences we often wonder and marvel at their reactions to the world. There are many personality types among our population. Some stand back from what is new with reservation, trepidation and even fear. While some embrace that which is new, are curious, investigate, and travel life as an adventure. Conner approaches all of his new experiences with enthusiasm. He shows no fear in the face of the unknown, and in fact greets all with acceptance and a sense of wonder.

In watching Conner, my first thoughts were how wonderful it must be to hold such acceptance of the world and all with newness and wonder. Yet something here nags at the back of my mind; and upon reflection, I realize that there are many things that are new to us each day. Yet in our jaded minds we color and clothe them in preconceived notions, past experiences and judge them before they are fully revealed to us. Often standing back and failing to move forward and investigate for ourselves, we accept the words of others in how something is or isn’t.

You know of course that I’m speaking of motorcycling as an example. How could I not? It is the one experience that continues to be new each time I straddle the saddle. It is also the comments and questions from people and their preconceived notions that show themselves in the words and reactions that come my way. Below are just two examples I’m talking about. I’m sure you can think of many others.

When Andy and I first met Blaze on a brisk March day, she was pulled out into the lot in anticipation of our arrival. That morning she was in the company of other motorcycles all sitting out on the tarmac, the fringes of which held the last vestiges of winter snow. Other patrons were inspecting these other models and considering which suited them best, as we all do when comparison shopping. Andy and I stood, inspected Blaze, and then I took the key, started her up and guided her around the lot; kicking it up a gear or two with each loop.

It was on the last loop that I realized what was really going on. The patrons (all of them male) were standing open mouthed. They had made assumptions it seemed that Andy was the person who was bike shopping. Then to watch this woman get on and ride around the lot, AND discover that this was a 1300 cc their attention was diverted and all just watched in amazement. I scratched my head and in turn wondered what was so amazing.

It is this that amazes. People don’t expect women to ride, and if they do, they are delicate and timid creatures who ride between 250cc and 650cc motorcycles. Indeed I did ride a 650cc for a time. It was the motorcycle I selected because of advice from others, not my own discernment. Don’t we all do this? We ask, investigate, read articles and use the judgment of others to tell us what is right for us? I have to admit that I have done this too. Yet watching Conner move ahead, not caring what other people decide is correct or appropriate, he is making judgments for himself and loving life.

I am often asked questions about motorcycling that I don’t believe my male counterparts would ever be asked. One such question is this; “what was the hardest thing about learning to ride a motorcycle?” Can you imagine it being asked of your buddy? I can’t. Although my answers are authentic and truthful it typically isn’t what they expect. In considering an answer to this last question, and remembering the limited size of my first saddlebags, it was this; “downsizing my purse.” I don’t really care about the blank stare that returns with that statement. It’s true. To those other comments about “aren’t you afraid?” I have this “am I supposed to be?”

1 comment:

SonjaM said...

Wonderfully written. Thank you. Seeing through new eyes (child-like as you put it) I often rediscover roads and sights when on my motorcycle, even if I have been on the very same route many times in my car before.

With regards to the question what the hardest thing about learning to ride a motorcycle was, I would like to add to your very valid remark of downsizing the purse, decide on which bike to ride, and stop-and-go traffic uphills. Cheers, SonjaM