Saturday, May 05, 2012

The Road Ahead

Roads, as life, have many twists and turns.  And it's those twists and turns that make the trip interesting. I've ridden this stretch of road dozens if not hundreds of times and it can still appear new and unexplored at times.  Why is that?

You never know for sure what's ahead on the road or what time and experience will reflect.  Riding, making photographs, and collecting notes and ideas on scraps of paper sometimes help reveal where you are, or more importantly, where you're going.  Standing in the driveway on a rainy morning I wondered where I was headed.

The Vespa hasn't been gathering many miles -- blame work and other interests.  Standing among a copse of Eastern Redbud trees in full bloom seemed more spectacular after so many riding deficient days.

NOTE TO SELF: Even when busy -- take time to ride.

Rain, mist and a palette of gray and a measure of imagination imbues the most ordinary path with a hint of majesty.  I've watched these days pass behind the wheel of the van, from my office window, and recognize their power.  It's the days they pass unnoticed that worry me.

How many times have I walked through a field like this and turned around to look at the scooter?  For a moment it appears as an archetype for freedom though all know how fleeting a machine can me.  If there is something eternal it is the riding experience limited only by the mind's ability to restore it from memory.  Almost like a painter, I ride, step back and examine what I've done before adding the next riding stroke to the canvas.

Thomas Merton wrote, "Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony."

Riding less has affected the order and balance of things.  So has a lack of production photographically.  Sunday morning meetings where new photographic prints were once common have become celebrations of creative emptiness.

At least I can rock a Twisted Roads t-shirt.

My friend Gordon and I contend for the collective titles of "Least Creative", "Most Useless", and "Champion Sloth".  Or so it can seem.  As he experiments with a Holga panoramic camera my own photographic actions have me divesting of cameras on eBay with only a vague perception that my days of putting my hands in chemicals to process film and make prints have ended.

It is good to talk about such things though.  Gordon came close to becoming a Vespa rider himself as he engaged the obsessive dance with eBay, Craigslist and other appropriate web tools to find the right deal on a scooter.  He wavered though and instead invested in a motorhome.

They are similar on some level.

The weather's been exceptional of late and the central Pennsylvania roads have never been more inviting for riders.  I've chosen to do other things though -- some because I have to and others because I want to.  One thing you will see in the coming weeks is a return, in part, to adventures mechanical.  There are a variety of things I need to do from changing tires to repainting the exhaust system and I've made a decision to expand my mechanical skill.

I'll report here all successes and disasters.  Hopefully only the former.

But soon the Vespa will be back on the road in a more serious way.


bobskoot said...


I made the mistake years ago to sell some collectible Leicas. I got rid of an M4, M2, IIIG along with matching lenses. I wished I had kept them. Thank goodness I still have my M6's, CL and a few LSM. I should have sold my M645Pro, Hassy CM500 and Superwide but now it is too late as I don't want to culminate the loss.

I keep thinking about doing the chemical thing. I still have a Jobo but who knows, digital just seems easier.

can't wait to read about your mechanical adventurers. I also wished I knew more about this and that

Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

Martha said...

Lovely post. And an unexpected pleasure to see a quote from Thomas Merton. Thank you for that.

Steve Williams said...

bobskoot: My Leica M6 and lenses will be the last to go because of the same fear that I'll wish I had them later. I've sold an M6 before without problems but that's probably because I still had one I could use.

Sold my JOBO CPP2 as well. If I were going to continue in film I would want to get another. But as you said -- digital seems easier...

I'll be posting about the mechanical stuff -- Steve learns to be a junior mechanic!

Steve Williams said...

Martha: Thanks for the kind words. I think I should break out a Merton book again and do some reading.

Ronman said...

I think we all find ourselves not getting enough riding time. Life happens. It seems to retain our sanity we need two wheels and wind.


Bryce said...

Seems to me the photos are by a pair of Holga holdouts.
Mind I understand the loss by sales of mechanical cameras. All of m ine are now gone, by dint of nobody willing to repair them in Canada, at least in my neck of the woods. So the remaining film camera is a Nikon F100, and a Pentax S108 half-way automatic. Digital though is different, picked up a used new Pentax K-r with an 18-135 lens for a song.
Light in weight, accommodating and really all I now require.
Sold the D90 to KEH along with all my other digital point and shoots.

scooters mobility said...

Scooters are one of the most exciting sports I've ever known. It is very relaxing and super entertaining as well. Enjoy!

Đá Nguyễn said...

very nice trip bro, especially the road. very beautiful.
The Scooterist

Steve Williams said...

Đá Nguyễn (The Scooterist): Thanks for the kind words.

Your blog is great and the visual presentation elegant. Qskulls adds a style element that is hard not to appreciate. Almost has me wanting to add a vintage Vespa to my garage!

I'll be posting about your blog soon and adding you to my blog roll.