• author
    • Maya Stiles Parsons Spier

      Columnist, Editor-in-Chief
    • March 30, 2016 in Columnists

    The stories of the world are written on the wind

    The connection to place, to the land, the wind, the sun, stars, the moon… it sounds romantic, but it’s true – the visceral experience of motion, of moving through time on some amazing machine – a few cars touch on it, but not too many compared to motorcycles. I always felt that any motorcycle journey was special.
    Antoine Predock

    I’m on my Can Am Spyder trike, Cloudrunner, and we’re zooming through space, sailing under ancient trees, past houses and farms, curious horses and the occasional goat. I have had too much on my plate for too long now and I need what I have heard people call “wind therapy.”

    They could not have named it better. I recently invested in actual leathers and for the first time, I’m comfortable — not sweltering and freezing at the same time as the wind pierces the jacket fabric thick enough in other places as to be too warm. I have traded in my beloved McSnort for a newer model, better designed for my body and now, rather than agony after 20 minutes, I feel like I could continue for hours.  The main shield of my helmet is up, the built-in sun shade is down and the wind is blowing in my face, blowing away cobwebs, grief and foolishness — cleaning me down to my purer essence.

    I zoom past, well aware of the looks I’m getting, an old bat in black leather motorcycle jacket and chaps, heavy brown Doc Martens boots that don’t match my outfit and a bright safety vest because I will, by all that’s holy, be seen. And damned if I don’t feel really, really cool.

    This is exactly what our Trail 90 looked like. Exactly.

    This is exactly what our Trail 90 looked like. Exactly.

    I tend to forget what I yearn for if I live without it long enough. Is that normal? I wouldn’t know. My ex-husband and I owned a little, bumblebee yellow Honda Trail 90 (Here’s the original post — I think this one is for sale ) back in the days of primordial ooze (no cell phones, no Internet) and that thing took us everywhere — sometimes with 30 or 40 lbs of groceries on my back and another 15 or so in the grocery bag while I clung to him  for dear life with one arm (he seemed like a madman to me, going that fast in the rain). We called her “Honeybee,” showing not one shred of imagination and while I think the ex thought she was a bit of a weenie bike — I loved her. I just loved that bike.

    Sadly, she was yet another thing I had to sell to survive.

    Fast forward at least 40 years when the grown daughter of that marriage decides she wants to take a class and learn to ride — and then buys this gorgeous, burgundy, low-riding Kawasaki Vulcan that she named Sherry for her glowing wine color.

    As soon as she announces her intent, I remember. I remember the bike I loved so much, that I actually rode by myself (without even a driver’s license — without ever having had one) and survived it and I remember — I want a motorcycle. I really, really do. And I have wanted one for at least 40 years.

    Seems long enough to me.

    This is McSnort, my first trike. I LOVED this trike but she was the wrong shape for my old bat body. With tears and well wishes, I traded her in for...

    This is McSnort, my first trike. I LOVED this trike but she was the wrong shape for my old bat body. With tears and well wishes, I traded her in for…

    When I am really serious about something, I tend to make it happen. I am now on my second trike — I who have spent more time than not broke and doing without than having any sort of luxury as most people conceive of them. Trust me, Cloudrunner is luxurious. Perhaps not as much as a roadster — ye gods, those things are rolling couches — but she’s comfy, feels like she was built for me, quiet and so beautiful with her pearlescent sparkling white and black with hints of rainbow.

    And now I’m out there on one of our rare Pacific Northwest sunny spring days, taking the longest way home I can manage and still get home in time to spend quality doggy time.

    As I pass, the world tells me its stories. Someone is baking and I’m betting that’s angelfood cake. It quickly blends into the smoky sweetness of someone’s barbecue with a passing whiff of “damn, that truck needs a tune-up!”  Organic fertilizer wafts toward me, perfectly welcome, as opposed to the acrid stench of the chemical variety.

    Somebody’s burning waxed boxes to my left, but that’s quickly blown past me by the perfect, cool purity of the breeze — and then, as suddenly, I pass the house where they have a wood fire in their fireplace. It’s burning in something old fashioned, I’m sure of it — the smell is too strong for one of those low-residue stoves.

    ...Cloudrunner, who feels like she was designed for me. I hope we see miles of magic before one of us gives out...

    …Cloudrunner, who feels like she was designed for me. I hope we see miles of magic before one of us gives out…

    We zoom past a patch of spring flowers putting out their delicate tendrils of perfume and on to deeper woods, where the wet winter has turned the ground to bog, mother to fungi and water plants that tint the air with their green smell. Spring is here. The earth has awoken and she greets us with all manner of scents. She speaks many languages, this planet of ours, and one of her most fluent is with smells. Into them she pours the burgeoning joy of springtime, the rich ripeness of summer, the bitter endings of autumn and the snow-draped silence of winter. Layered atop the stories the earth is offering are our own — whiffs of what we humans are doing with the occasional contribution of a peevish skunk.

    I sail through all of it on my three wheels, feeling the anguish of the past 16 months — so full of loss and death and amazing discovery and new life — even the wonderful parts have been intense — and I allow the wind to tell me its stories and breathe away the pain that has left me incapacitated.

    It tells me there is joy in mundanity, that I am still very small in the grand scheme of things and that even my greatest wounds can be put in perspective — and that solace, as well as stories, can be found in the wind.

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