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.