A morning ride several weeks ago -- pushing, pushing through air, through space, pushing, gritting, standing, riding through the chill air, spine straight, neck extended, seeking, reaching, grasping for the day. Now, then, tomorrow. The Vespa pushes the asphalt, slicing through space towards a destination.
At 65mph at 35F the air feels cold. The Vespa provides little protection without a windshield or hand guards. With heated gloves at home I am having the naked riding experience. Armored against the cold as best I can it's always waiting, restlessly searching for an opening to make me uncomfortable.
Below an overpass on Interstate 99, boots scratching at frozen gravel, eyes scanning the lines of steel and concrete overhead, making a picture and postponing for a few moments having blood drained from my arm. That's my first destination -- blood tests at the hospital.
Face raised towards the sun I stood for a long moment on a gravel lane leading from Mount Nittany Medical Center towards Beaver Stadium. An elastic bandage on my squeezed my left arm, holding in place a small square of gauze protecting a hole where a phlebotomist pushed a fine steel needle into a vein. Thick, dark red liquid filled one glass vial then another as I provided evidence for my doctor to manage my psoriatic arthritis, monitor the chemicals in my body used to counter an aggressive immune system that's declared war on the body it's supposed to protect.
I feel like I'm in the middle.
People gather at the statue of Joe Paterno leaving cards and flowers and other tokens of recognition. His legacy is still unfolding, his grand experiment unique and probably never to be repeated.
Another stop at the library bearing the Paterno name. Not sure if any other large university had a coach who built a library. After picking up a book more errands lay ahead. The Vespa has proven itself over and over as a near perfect vehicle for my eclectic journeys.
Steam rises in small, turbulent swirls as I stare at the Starbucks on the table. Watching, looking, remembering lazy summer days laying on a grassy field as white, cotton candy clouds passed overhead. Alone with a cup of tea, a few moments to pause and think and just enjoy the moment.
Towards home, detoured once, twice, three times to extend the ride, expand the sights, and drink in the world. Even the short trips like these, filled with duty and task, can be exquisite. Fun. Free.
For me at least.
One last stop at the Boalsburg Chocolate Company for a few confections to enjoy later with another cup of tea and then across the street to Bella di Vita, a small shop selling soap and other conveyances of fragrances. There's always something there that Kim will love -- this time a new Eau de toilette by Cote Bastides.
Seems an appropriate way to end a ride on an Italian Vespa. I guess I won't ever graduate to a Harley...