Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Road Not Taken

Robert Frost wrote: 
Two roads diverge in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Text 

It's always been a favorite of mine because I think it describes a way of life that I've at least aspired to. Now that I've turned 60 and recognized that I've traveled a lot more roads than I have left to travel the choices seem more and more important.

As a runner I've often been criticized because I don't feel the need to hurry through races. My philosophy is that the reason I train is so that I can be out on the race courses. Why, once I'm there, would I try to get through the experience as quickly as I can? It seems backwards. If you want to run fast, do that at home. If you travel to an event, take your time. 

Those same people probably would have criticized my old Army Band and fellow motorcycle traveler, Larry, and I for our approach to motorcycle touring. As I wrote in a recent column, we often had a a destination in mind, and had an itinerary marked clearly on a map, but we rarely followed the map and almost never got to where we were headed.

My fondest memories is of Larry and I relaxing in a field somewhere looking up at the clouds and saying "The is my kind of touring"

Over the years that changed some. As I started riding bigger bikes, as my destinations got farther and farther away, as I saw more of what I wanted to see I lost some of my core principles. I lost sight of the truth that it doesn't matter where I want to be, it's where I am is what's important.

The Piaggio MP3 400 has helped me remember why it was that I started riding in the first place. It's helped me remember that that act of riding is it's own reward. It has help me rediscover the joy of exploring the world closest to me. It's been a renaissance of riding. 

Jenny and I both have BMW R1150Rs. We rode 1,000 miles in 22 hours on those bike. We rode all the way around Lake Michigan in a single day. Why? Because we could.

I won't be doing that on the Piaggio MP3 400, although I think I could. I won't because there's no need to do that to enjoy the scooter. I'll be doing what I'm doing now, hopping on and riding because it just feels good.

People who know me understand that it's exactly what I do when I run. And when the roads of my life diverged, as the traveler in Frost's poem, "I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."

Waddle on,


No comments: