My friend Ben and I write back and forth to one another as often as we can, partly to stay in touch, and partly to have an outlet for our thoughts. The BLURBS ABOUT NOTHING thread started as a means to free form write to clear the head of the stresses of life (as he was having a baby soon and living in Iceland away from his friends and family) and has continued in that tradition for a few years now, though admittedly have become less about nothing and more about something. They have become an outlet, a sounding board of sorts whereby we seldom respond to each others writing and instead just listen and express. At the end of each written piece, we give the other an assigned subject to riff on, some inspiration to spark the dialogue. It's been a really fulfilling experiment. This is a excerpt from a recent one, subject: What does your happy place look like?
"With that all said, my happy place, my bliss zone usually occurs on the open road. Driving has always been something I love, a place to clear my head. It’s the distraction of something important happening that is your main point of monotonous focus, allowing your brain to wander and talk to itself. I think meditation works a lot like this, concentrating on the inner workings of your body allowing your mind to float in the black abyss. So to fully answer this, my setting would be the desert and the object would be a motorcycle. And it comes with a memory.
3 years ago now, geez it’s been 3 years, Anna and I both met up in the Palm Springs area. Our families each have a place down there. And every year, my folks would rent me a motorcycle for my birthday in February, for 24 hours. They know how much of a loner I am, all of us Corkle brothers are pretty quiet folk, to ourselves. I’m more social than either of them of course, but I do love my silence. Anyways, I rented a Harley Dyna that year, beautiful machine, lots of low end torque, foot pegs way out front, was like a lazy boy on wheels. Anna’s mom hated the idea, as most mothers do if you never grew up around bikes, but she allowed it on account it was my birthday.
Anyways, out into the desert we went, down through Temecula and around the mountains down there. At one point there is a straight stretch of proper desert highway, just south of everything that connects two nowhere towns and it was the greatest. Warm breeze, sun still high, flat desert and ragged thorny plants on either side for miles that touched the base of a barren mountain side far in the distance. The road was choppy, under maintained but the lazy boy dragged you on a pillow of air and rubber. Not a single other machine around. I drop my left hand and throttle up with the right, my lady's hands squeeze around my waste. “Happy birthday” rings in my head. Pure bliss. For the next 30 minutes, not a car in sight, just a hard warm breeze and a smile under my Harley Davidson bandana. Later that day, I got a call from Danny in some milkshake shop we stopped at letting me know that Pour Retourner made Tribeca. It was one of the most memorable days of my life. We also almost died a little further down the road when a sign said “rough road ahead” which was a pretty big understatement. The road had folded like a sheet when you wake in the morning and at 50 miles an hour we hit a series of lumps, sending the bike and ourselves airborne more than a few times. Thank god Anna was holding on, it was extremely scary. Another bit of that memorable touch. We pulled over and argued after, fuelled by adrenaline and panic. But soon we were laughing, needing to expunge the energy as best as possible. We rolled back to my parents place at the end of the trip, just as the sun was sinking. The adventure of it all was pretty perfect.
I miss having a bike to disappear with. You cannot talk to anyone, your constantly under duress from the wind and weather and you have to be on your game watching the road. There is nothing more meditative than long rides on a bike. And as exhausted as you are when you stop, beaten down by the road like you’ve been toiling a field all day. You give it a moment and a mysterious thing happens. You want to get back out there and continue. It’s like when you stand between a doorway and push your arms out against the doorframe with everything you have, tiring your muscles and building the pain, to then release and feel as though your arms weigh as much as feathers. That feeling of push and pull is inherent with any laborious activity I find. The adaptation of the body is a curious thing."