Reflection and Harmony

via Daily Prompt: Harmony

sunrise reflection

momentary quietude

centered start to day

 

midday crises felt

temporary unbalance

handle best we can

 

sunset reflection

experiencing oneness

harmony restored

Iron Mountain Road

via Daily Prompt: Climbing

Iron Mountain Road is a 17 mile stretch of U.S. Highway 16A that winds through a second iphone 1237beautiful section of the Black Hills in South Dakota. But truthfully, to say it winds does not pay due respect to this asphalt work of art. It twists and turns, climbs and falls, squeezes through tunnels, and corkscrews back on itself in a way that forces riders to go slowly enough to appreciate the beauty. The official description includes 314 curves, 14 switchbacks, 3 pigtails, 3 tunnels, 2 splits and 4 presidents. Four presidents? Yep. One end of 16A is near the entrance to Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, and riders are treated to a view of Messrs. Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln off in the distance through the tunnels.

I am there to attend the 75th Annual Sturgis Bike Rally. Bikers who come to the rally come to party or to ride, and as I begin my trek along 16A, I hope that those groups are mutually exclusive.

The first section of mostly gentle curves allows me to nudge the throttle just a bit, only having to rein it in approaching a few sharper ones. But soon, I reach what seems to be a continuous string of pigtails, tunnels and switchbacks. The first of the pigtails appears, seemingly out of nowhere just after leaving a narrow tunnel, and I quickly downshift moments before I’m led around a 360 degree turn and pass under what looks like a wooden bridge supporting the road I’ve just traversed.

The ride overall is a full body, mind and sensory experience. It’s not just the exquisite sensation of my body leaned into the curves, but the absolute, full attention and immersion in the moment, the deep-throated growl of the engine, the vibrations reaching me through the seat and handlebars, the changing smells cruising past different vegetation, and the alternating coolness and warmth on my skin as I pass into and out of shaded areas.

I nod to the presidents as I exit the last of the tunnels but do not stop for a selfie with them. It’s time to get myself on into Keystone for a well-earned cold one now that my ride is finished, and let my body and mind reflect on the wonder of it all. As I park and climb off, I notice a fellow biker wearing an Iron Mountain Road t-shirt that reads simply “What Dragon?” I smile as I remember I’m wearing my Tail of the Dragon shirt with the map on the back. We will have much to talk about.

A Dark Tunnel (continued)

via Daily Prompt: Pleased

As the last strains of the Bolero fade from my ears, my thoughts begin to — unRavel 😉 and I’m pleased to take on a new challenge…just kidding…here’s the real post…

A Dark Tunnel continued…

The gentle strength in her grip on my ankle is at once concerning and reassuring. I fear for her safety more than my own, but have learned more than once since our first meeting that she is no damsel in distress. Her resourcefulness and resolve belie the delicate beauty of her soft facial features, and have kept us a half step ahead of danger repeatedly.

The darkness forces my thoughts inward, nothing else to concentrate on as our slog through the damp endlessness of the tunnel goes on. My thoughts return to that fateful evening. “Pleased to meet you,” she had said with an accent that reached deep into a primal part of me, summoning me inside her mind. “Enchanté,” I returned in my dreadful Texas drawl, cringing inside but hoping it didn’t show on the outside. She had passed by my outstretched hand to touch my shoulder, leaning forward to lightly kiss each cheek in turn, me trying to mirror the moves, not having grown up with this delightful custom. As we pulled back and smiled into each other’s eyes, I remember the phrase “follow you to the ends of the Earth” passing through my jumbled mind, thoughts raveling and unraveling as the moment persisted. Laughing now to myself. I didn’t think that would include literally traveling under the Earth together.

The wine had flowed along with the conversation as we sat outside Les Deux Magots café, sharing the warm Paris evening with our mutual friend Alex who had arranged our meeting. All was going well until she looked beyond my shoulder, eyes widening in alarm. “Come with me. Now” adding “Please” as an afterthought, hand clutching my wrist not unlike the way she now holds my ankle in the darkness. We stand and dart down the street, with her in the lead, leaving Alex at the table, confusion crossing his features…

To be continued when more prompts arrive….

Copyright  © Thomas Ward 2017

Security for Both

via Photo Challenge: Security

a man and his dog
Not sure who is getting more security. Looks like both

Copyright  © Thomas Ward 2017

Free Form Thoughts About Champion

via Daily Prompt: Champion

Champion?

Musing

Perusing musings

Winnings

Losings

Choosings

Don’tings, Do-zings

Floozing?

Boozing

Doping, Coping, Hoping

Goals. Tolls, Roles

Training, Gaining

Refraining

More musing

Off and on

Snoozing

Thrice achoozing

Pollen’s amusing

Many thoughts

Ink Blot

Champion

Copyright  © Thomas Ward 2017

A Prudent Ride on the Tail of the Dragon

via Daily Prompt: Prudent

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

— Hunter S. Thompson

At the North Carolina end of the Tail of the Dragon stands the Tree of Shame, a tribute of sorts to the bikers who have been bested by the beast. The Dragon: a stretch of US Highway 129 with 318 curves in 11 miles, running from Tabcat Bridge in Tennessee to Deals Gap, NC. The Tree: adorned with fragments of bikes that missed one of those curves, a fender here, a shard of windshield there, poignant words about bikers who sustained more damage than their bikes.


This photo of Tail of the Dragon is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Is it wise to ride The Dragon? It is not really as scary as as The Tree might have you believe. It merely likes to taunt. I won’t let it dissuade me. The better question is “Can I not ride The Dragon?” The sensation of going into a curve on a motorcycle is unique. It can’t be had in a car. And with its 318 curves, The Dragon periodically beckons me to come glide down its twisting form. tandv And I heed its call. Plus, I guess I’d be described as a prudent rider. No aspirations to break the 9-minute one way record. Not going to literally “skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke” as I ride it. And certainly no interest in adding parts of my beloved S 50 to the tree. Just a steady push to the comfortable edge…oooh those curves!

Copyright  © Thomas Ward 2017

What Would You Do?

via Daily Prompt: Later

Several years ago I stumbled on a way to express what many of us on the far side of middle age know intimately; time is as precious as it is relentless, ever striding forward whether we choose to keep up or not. I called it the 30-30 principle. None of us knows whether we have 30 seconds or 30 years left to live. So, how shall we spend our time? What really matters? As is obvious from the absence of a written record in the interim, writing about the idea was not on the list. I thought about it, but put it off for later. Well, later is here. Gotta love these prompts!

What if I knew I had only 30 seconds? What then? Living alone there is no time for one last comforting hug in the arms of a lover. Maybe a frantic group text to my kids, “I love you. Carry on, Dad.” And what about 30 minutes? Some phone calls to family, friends and former lovers? A quick drive to a close friend’s house for that hug? Though that small Dutch Apple pie on my counter is calling out for attention too ;-). 30 days would be a lifetime, plenty of time to travel to see old friends, with some left over for quiet time at an outdoor café in Paris. So, why am I not doing any of these things right now? I can blame it on the realities of still working for a living, or generalized inertia. Still, it’s worth a thought.

And you, my newfound family of bloggers. What about you? What would you do? If so inclined, please reply to this post with what you would do with a time interval of your own choosing. It need not even be within the bounds of the 30-30 principle. But, please, share.

(Not sure how all this pingback stuff works, but do that too if so moved.)

Copyright  © Thomas Ward 2017