Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rolling Thunder

Late last Saturday night and again Sunday morning we were awakened by loud, crashing thunder. You know, the kind that seems to roll across the sky with a bravado that vibrates your bones. I’ve always relished that sound. My mind conjures the metaphysical “happy hunting grounds” of Native Americans with warriors in a huge circle, many drummers deep, matching their drumbeats to the rhythm of stampeding buffalo. Sometimes you can hear the thunder roll its way farther off into the distance before its sound fades away. And sometimes it just stops.

Earlier Saturday I felt a different kind of rolling thunder, but one just as powerful. I rode my big-girl Harley for the first time in a while.  No matter how short the ride, nor the intended destination, riding always leaves me feeling exhilarated. The sound, the vibration, the horsepower, the maneuverability, and the fresh air all lend themselves to a sense of freedom unmatched by driving a car. And there is a reason a motorcycle is called an iron horse.  For one, you sit a motorcycle just like a horse. The slightest movement of your knees up or down, in or out, brings about the desired response in animal or machine. And as you get up to highway speeds on the motorcycle, you get the same sensation as being on horseback at full gallop.

Once when I was riding out in the country on a straight, but hilly terrain with the only other vehicle in sight being my husband on his bike up ahead, I actually heard the sound of a herd of horses galloping alongside me. Startled, I looked all around, but there was nothing to see but bucolic farm land and the undulating ribbon of up-and-down highway in front of us. The hoofbeats continued, and when I slowed down, they slowed. When I would speed up, they would too. At first I thought I was hallucinating, but soon I just relaxed into what became an intense spiritual experience. There were many of those experiences to follow, but every single time I ride my motorcycle, I sense the presence of that herd of horses thundering alongside.

          Now due to changes we’re making in our lives, I’ve decided it’s time to sell my beloved motorcycle. This may have been my last ride on that bike, and if so Saturday’s ride will resemble the thunder that rolled into the distance and faded away. But if I do happen to ride it one more time, then at the end of that ride I’ll pull into the garage and embody the thunder that just stops.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why A Blog? And Why Now?

For many years I sent personal e-mails to those we love all across the country just to stay in touch. Sometimes I couldn't remember from week to week which family members I had shared what with, and occasionally someone felt left out if they weren't made aware of something that others knew. I could sympathize, since we often felt left out when we'd hear after the fact about trips our kids had taken, milestones our grandkids had reached, or other newsy events. So a few years ago, I decided to send a weekly e-mail to everyone at once. My intention was for all to get the same details, but my overriding hope was that everyone else would do the same, thus keeping the entire circle equally informed and feeling a little closer.

Those regular "Monday in St. Louis" notes were sometimes short, only a few sentences, and sometimes way too long. A few elicited comments from several recipients, while some others were probably deleted before being read through to the end. All were composed with love, and while they worked to let others know what we were up to, they failed to create the round-robin communication I had hoped for. So sometime this spring I just stopped writing them. But I'm a writer at heart, and writers have to write.

Thus this blog - Grits & Graffiti. Since I'm just posting and not sending it, family and friends can read it or ignore it. And since it's meant to scratch my writing itch, I'll go beyond merely recapping or announcing events in our lives. If you choose to follow it, you'll never know what the topic will be, but I'll try to sidestep the yawns. And please feel free to comment, although I retain the right to pre-screen your posts - more to respect privacy and preclude spamming than to exercise any particular power of censure.