roadside reckoning

I got out on the motorcycle yesterday.

NH, like most states, is under a Stay-at-home order but the details on riding aren’t clear so I took it out. Worse case scenario, a cop will turn me around. But not before I ask him, without being a smartass, is there any better “Social Distancing” than a motorcycle?

I needed to get out. I needed to turn off the news. The constant flow of bad news was wearing on me. Wind Therapy was the only answer. My bike called to me.

I was reluctant to take her out. The tires are worn, the oil is old, it’s not detailed to my satisfaction. My appointment for the yearly service is Tuesday, a dialysis buddy is a bike mechanic that works from his garage, and I really should have waited until it is serviced to ride. I already dropped the new tires, oil and filter and air filter to him. But I figured a quick 50 miles would be ok. I checked the oil level, tire pressure, turned the key and my baby roared to life. After a sufficient warm up I was off.

One thing I love about where I am is my proximity to Maine. I am twenty miles from the border in two different directions. From a riding perspective this is a beautiful thing. New Hampshire and Maine are incredibly scenic. The views of the distinctly New England style homes and farms is complimented by the barrage of fresh, fragrant air in your face as you roll the roads. NH is nice, Maine is even nicer.

I drove a familiar route yesterday. I first passed through the town that borders NH. It is a bittersweet experience, driving through it, parts of it reek of abject poverty evident in the crumbling houses and broken down cars in the drive. Then you come upon the beautiful restored farm house with a imported car in the drive. A town that resists the influx of gentrification yet quietly acknowledges its need of their tax dollars.

The route provided ample supplies of both the rundown and the restored and I can say that the view hasn’t changed much since last year with one wonderful exception. People.

The people were out. Families were together. Sitting around makeshift campfires. Burning brush. Raking leaves. Playing games. Riding ATV’s. I even saw one family having a picnic by the side of a river, cliché’d red and white blanket and wicker basket and all. People waving to me, the kid with the fishing pole and waders signaling for me to rev the engine.

I don’t remember EVER seeing that before.

I can’t explain it in any other way, it’s the Coronavirus. For all of the bad it has created the forced togetherness is bringing people together. That is a beautiful thing that I could write about for volumes. But I won’t, I’m just going to leave it right here.

When I got home I was sufficiently refreshed in both body and spirit. Sure, part of it was the motorcycle. It always refreshes me. But the scenery; the wondrous sights of family, community, dare I say normalcy that I was blessed to see refreshed me in so many other wonderful ways.