Away from the harsh and unnatural visual jarring of the angular concrete and steel constructs of the city, away from the creeping, constant and incessant traffic, away from the bustling multitudes of people, away from the city lights dimming the night stars, away from the tight enclosed spaces, away from the unique metropolis dirt, away from nature bent and subverted to human will – away from the ‘usual’ life. A way. A way to recharge, a way to connect with the earth, water and sky, a way to see anew with fresh, open eyes, a way to feel and hear with reinvigorated senses, a way to think, a way to explore. Reconnect away. Away in the mountains. Four days away.
Packed and prepped from the day before I wake well ahead of the device wake-up song (Sonic Youth, Sunday). It’s no longer an alarm clock – it’s a phone, no, it’s far, far more than a phone now. It is a portal, an opening into a different universe, one of the new human experience, of the new human knowledge, of the new human possibilities, of all known knowledge available to us if we care to avail ourselves of it, a laying down of a new electronic reality mirroring our own truths, lies, fears, wants, emotions and base emotions. We’ve built a construct from our own inner construct, a mirror of us deconstructed into stored charges of electric energy.
Shower. Wash. Dry. Clean. Attire donned. I am ready. I glance through the mirror and see my self in myself, or more my interpretation of self. Time to go, time to go, is there anybody out there? Fitting that those lines come just before Comfortably Numb in The Wall. Fragments of lyrics embedded in the self, distant memories float through consciousness and bubble up into the moment. Connections made between synapses. Firing of electrical energy. Yes, time to go. Time to be outside time again, time to be, time to be in that moment, there is somebody in there. Ruminating now on the nature of time I’m reminded of a line from William Faulker’s The Sound and the Fury:
When the shadow of the sash appeared on the curtains it was between seven and eight o’clock and then I was in time again, hearing the watch.
Does hearing, seeing and feeling create time? What is time for us, each of us, individually?
On hearing my Ninja’s engine start I’m in time, again. Riders have a preoccupation with weather perhaps because we’re in the weather, not cocooned and distanced observing from within cages but in the weather, in the outside, part of the outside, part of the wind, of movement, of the moment frozen yet extended into the now. There is only the now as a rider. There’s a numbness to the now. Comfortably numb from thought, being, just being, in the moment, time has a different meaning now. It’s early still, very early. The sun is up and the coolness greets me as I accelerate away and navigate to meet my companion. Options, so many options. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey that drives us. I option a well-known route to the meeting point. Grey and green greet me as I navigate away from the freeway to the lesser known roads, the snakes that wind and wend their way through the countryside. Before long I’m no longer encased by the grey concrete and steel structures, I am becoming free. Unconsciously I jettison thought and focus on the now, on riding my motorcycle, on being one with my machine, the extension of me, my device. My internal self isn’t conscious of the actions that my body takes to control my new, extended self, we have become one. In the same way that you don’t think about how to walk, you don’t think about how to ride you simply do it without conscious thought, you see, you react, you adjust to the moment, the moment is all that there is, now.
Beams of sunlight permeate through the trees on my optioned course. I am aware of the periphery, aware but not focussed, it becomes a border to the painting, a necessary surround to the snake I’m riding. And yet I still have awareness of the green, of the yellow, of the periphery. The snake rises as I approach Yarra Glen and curves left, the runway invisible save deducing from the tree line where the snake wends; knowing the lie of the road too lends itself to comfort. Descent, aside the hill, rock wall and trees on my left, a vast open vista just through the edge of the roadside trees to my right. Impossibly deep blue crystal clear sky. Nuanced blue-grey mountains frame the horizon. I smile internally at the glimpsed peripheral vista. It is a good day.
As I roll into the “servo” at Healesville I espy my compatriot, timing – we’re both early, very. Lidded nods as we prepare to commence the refuelling process. We exchange greetings, transact with the service station attendant, confirm our path and leave early. Day one of four has started, proper.
to be continued…