Seasonal rhythms in motorcycle riding and photography

The arrival of autumn, my favorite season, brings a number of changes to my life. On a larger level, the school year begins, defining much of my wife and daughter’s schedules until the next summer returns. The looming colder weather also means it is time put my motorcycle away for the winter. Thinking about all of that lead to some thinking about photography. (Are you surprised?)

For me, the season for motorcycle riding in the North East is limited to the warmer six months of the year. This is unlike where I started riding in California. Yes, I know there are die-hards riding year round in New England, but I am not one of them. At first, the short season concerned me but I came to actually appreciate it. The cyclical nature of the limited riding seasons, like the larger seasons themselves, reminds me to appreciate the life that I live. Like most of us, I value something more when the time I have to enjoy that is limited.

The shorter riding season forces certain disciplines upon me. One is that I need to ride almost daily at the start of the season to get back into the rhythm of riding and to ride safely. The first few rides are focused on reconnecting with the machinery and getting my rhythm back. Once I get back into that “zone,” I want to go there as often and as long as I can. Thus by the end of summer I am taking longer and longer rides. In August and September I took two long rides to Maine as well as numerous longer rides in and around Rhode Island.

An image of the motorcycle from one of my rides:

In the next month, I will winterize my motorcycle by changing the oil one last time and removing the battery for the winter. With that step, I will temporarily set aside something I love. Something that takes me into a special “zen” like mind set, requires constant practice, is about the journey not the destination, and is filled with reminders of my life’s abundance.

On the other hand, I have another pursuit where I can direct my energies and have many of the same experiences. Photography (not surprisingly) is where my extra energy will be going during the colder months. Neither pursuit riding or photographing, is better than the other. Together they remind me of my both my good fortune and the things I have to keep doing to keep moving forward.

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