I make a lot more U-turns these days, for through them…lives the extraordinary.
In the past, I moved with the illusion that I had to “get there”, wherever “there” was. Do not stop, do not pass go.
With experience, my appreciation of time has matured. What’s the rush, really?!
“Whoever is in a hurry shows that the thing he is about is too big for him.” – Lord Chesterfield
Now when something intriguing peeps through my peripheral vision, I satisfy the curiosity. Months ago, I was driving through Buellton in central California and passed a sign I thought had the word ostrich on it. After a purposeful turn around, I followed the sign to a delightfully entertaining ostrich farm! A memorable roadside attraction experience that wouldn’t exist had I dismissed the sign to drive on.
The sky was twilight when I drove down Cambria’s main street after listening to live music in the garden of a local restaurant. Out of the corner of my eye appeared a silhouette that caused me to dramatically blink and spin my mind. Was the light playing tricks on me? Twilight can do that. I drove on for a couple more blocks before realizing this was a U-turn moment.
I pulled into a gravel lot next to the library where a man was putting on his motorcycle helmet. He was tall, and wore a black leather jacket, wire-rim glasses, and a ponytail with long silver hair. His beard was untamed and road-worn. And he had a wooden leg. That’s what I said, a wooden leg. On a motorcycle.
I talked and walked toward him, “Pardon me, I have to ask. My name is Heidi. I too ride a motorcycle. But with all the distracted drivers on the road, I no longer feel comfortable riding on highways. My husband was killed…and you with your leg…that was a motorcycle…?” Before finishing my sentence with the word accident, he nodded. I finished my inquiry of wonder with, “How do you do it?”
He put his helmet down and paused before he spoke. Slowly and directly he answered, “You just do. It’s like in war when you see someone die right in front of you. You have to………go on.” I asked if he’d show me his bike and its modifications. “I worked as a motorcycle mechanic for years…”. He had moved the gear shift from the left to the right side of the bike (and the operative leg) and engineered a device on the left side to hold his wooden leg.
With awe in my expression I looked at him intently. Almost speechless but not quite, I said with a brief two-finger peace salute, “I stand in respect. May I ask your name?” Dead seriously he replied, “Long John Silver.”
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone” – Bob Dylan