Thursday, August 2, 2007

A Midsummer Nights Dream Ride

2am-The silence of my suburban neighborhood was broken by the roaring to life of my Sportster. Not wanting to incite the ire of the locals I left the enricher knob wide open, not taking the time to allow the engine to warm-up, I kicked it into 1st gear and headed out.

It's times like these that I am glad I didn't replace my stock pipes with the Screamin Eagle louder ones. I come and go a lot at night, and even though the sound of my bike is music to my ears, I understand it's not necessarily music to other ears.

It was my night off and I wanted to take advantage of the full moon and the still warm summer air. There is something special about such rides as these. The traffic is Nil, especially on the country roads I ply. The road twists and dips down into hollows where the temperature noticeably drops then warms again at the top of the rise. I smell the earthy humid air as I pass through a wooded area. I see what is illuminated by my high beam and the orange glow of my speedometer and nothing else. That is why I keep my speed down. This is the time when deer, raccoons, possums and skunks are out and crossing roads.

I pulled off to the side and hit the kill switch. The lights went out after turning the ignition off. Silence. After a few moments the temporarily cautious frogs and crickets renewed their song. After a little while my eyes adjusted to the darkness. I sat down and leaned my back against an oak tree and watched the moon pop in and out of the clouds overhead.

Ignition on, lights, the Sportsters engine comes to life, the crickets and frogs must have paused to listen to the roar of what must have been a monster to them. I disappeared over the top of a hill, leaving the hollow behind in peace.

Back at home and in bed when I shut my eyes, I could see and experience the whole ride over again. Not much else leaves a memory as vivid as this. It was a midsummer nights dream ride.

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