“The middle of the road, is trying to find me. I’m standing in the middle of life, with my plans behind me.”
In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice asks; “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
When I first got my motorcycle, just going for a ride was enough; it really didn’t matter much where I went. But after a while I found myself needing a place to go, even if it was just a loose plan. Although all the travel books insist that it’s the journey that’s important, I wanted a destination.
I spent a lot of time studying maps and planning routes, preferring the curvy backroads that took longer but were more interesting. And I would always take a different way home, because at that point just riding was enough again.
After seven years and 90,000 miles, I discovered that it’s always the journey that’s important, but without some general direction I felt somewhat lost, or maybe vulnerable is a better word.
André Paul Guillaume Gide, the French author I mentioned in my post about the color of truth said this about travel: “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
Note to self: get a sextant and learn how to use it.
When I drive through this part of Intercourse on a Sunday morning, I usually see at least 20 horse and buggies traveling on the back roads. Sunday is their day for spending time with family and members of the community.
I don’t know a lot about these so I did some research. Modern Amish buggies have brakes, an electrical system for lights and turn signals, and are available in any color you want as long as it’s black.
The asking price for this beauty is $3700, which may or may not be a great deal. The owner and the horse were not available, but I’m guessing that the horse is taking a much needed vacation. They work in the snow, rain, heat and gloom of night much like a mailman, but with fewer benefits and no days off.
As the Amish saying goes: “Alle Daag rumhersitze macht em faul,” which means sitting all day makes one lazy. Of course, of course.
An old expression that is rarely used these days is “until the cows come home.” An example is: Mike can dodge and burn until the cows come home, but he’ll never fix that photo. In my experience driving around the back roads of Pennsylvania, cows do not actually come home because they never leave.
Once in a while a brave one will decide to make a break for it, to see what’s out there besides walking around in circles and getting milked. So knowing that there’s an electric fence to keep her in, she decides that a little bit of pain is worth the pleasure of doing what she wants and goes for it.
After the brief thrill of the escape is over, she stands there in the middle of the road wondering what to do next. She has the same look that a prisoner has after being released from jail, and the same thoughts. Being where they were wasn’t exactly heaven, but it wasn’t hell either. In many ways it was safe, predictable and at times even comfortable.
So like many ex cons do after realizing that the unknown can be frightening, they go back to the life that they knew. Ordinary people also do this and it is sometimes called quiet desperation.
Occasionally, someone will escape from a place and stay out despite not knowing what to do or what will happen next. This is known as courage and is different than bravery.
The essence of courage is not the feeling of being certainly capable of overcoming what’s one is faced with, but rather is the willful choice to fight regardless of the consequences.
Write that down.