I only had a couple of chances to ride horses when I was young, and I never fell in love with them like many girls do. Heck, the only other girl in my neighborhood growing up had several horse “dolls” or maybe “action figures”. Whatever you’d call them, they were the focus of our imaginative play when at her house. The people that fed or rode them were secondary to the narrative. I didn’t get it.
But I was drawn to that iconic image of a person (didn’t matter whether a man or woman, old or young) jumping on the back of a horse and riding away at breakneck speed. Hats flew off, clothing flapped in the wind, hair whipped around, and the horse was pointed to the horizon. No plan, just getting out of there. If I’m honest, that’s why I liked the book Runaway Ralph. You know, the one about the mouse that had a motorcycle?
It was about the freedom to jump on the horse or motorcycle and make that dramatic getaway. Slamming the car door didn’t have the same appeal. Nor did the inevitably too slow pedaling of the bicycle.
Just like learning to ride a bike or drive a car, there was a period for me when getting on my motorcycle felt like work. There’s a lot to remember until shifting, braking and keeping eyes on everyone else becomes part of your muscle memory. But one day it clicked. And even though my hair is (mostly) tucked up inside the safety of a helmet, it feels like freedom to climb on the Shadow and take off. Yes, there are rules and traffic lights, but there is still much freedom within those bounds.
The feel of the wind, the smells of orange groves and restaurants and rivers, the sounds of the engine and the birds, and the panoramic views…. they set free this heart that yearns to experience in new ways what the world has to offer.