adventures with Henk the Buell

My Photo
Location: global

Celebrating people, ideas & things that make the world a better place. Kitchen Chemistry, Social Alchemy, Adventure Activism.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I always knew how this journey would end. Perhaps not exactly, but of all possible worlds, I knew this was one. But that's not the point. The point of venturing out is the journey itself, and nowhere in my own life have I felt this to be more true than in this moment of arrival at my destination.

It took 22,000 kilometers, five thousand dollars, a hundred and forty soy lattes, three tires, nine liters of synthetic oil, four homemade grommets, one hail storm, nineteen friends, countless new acquaintances, one Reverend Al Green, two authentic margueritas, several bottles of sangria, a dozen breakfast burritos, a million acres of heart-opening landscape, two countries, four provinces, four states, four hot springs, one beautiful man, one Australian Shepherd, one red-headed adventurer, and a roll of duct tape--but I've arrived.

I suppose it makes perfect sense after three months on the road emptying, shedding, letting go, that by the time I got to New Mexico, there'd be nothing left to contemplate but survival and procreation.

Call it the biological clock, call it unresolved base chakra issues, call it changing hormones or natural order or primitive purpose or god's will. Whatever the phenomenon that makes a thirty-eight-year-old woman previously impervious to maternal desires pay attention to potential partners in parenthood--it kicked in for me somewhere around Southern Colorado.

If you're a thirty-eight-year-old woman with no children, I believe you must, (even if you have no desire for children), at some point while the window is sliding closed, acknowledge that that window is slowly sliding closed and either say hey that window is sliding closed, and I am d e f i n i t e l y ok with that, close baby close, or hey that window is sliding closed, and I'm not entirely certain that's ok with me take your time closing.

I had no idea when I left Toronto at the end of June that I'd be contemplating babies in Utah in October. One simply does not go on a motorbike trip to contemplate babies. Or maybe that's the perfect thing to do on a motorbike. Maybe everyone facing big life changes and wanting to be conscious when they make their decisions should head out on the wide open road where clarity cools the mind with the headwind, sweeping away the distractions of still life that help hold our old beliefs intact that may have been unconsciously programmed and might no longer be valid. Even if you don't yet know what the questions are, it can't hurt to hit the road. The asphalt ribbon has a way of unraveling beneath the rubber and tapping you lightly on the back of your shoulder, tap tap tap, lightly but persistently calling you to attention.

On a motorbike, you have no choice but to empty and ride. It's ecstatic. And the only things you can control are the steering, your posture, and your breath. So you control what you can, but ultimately you give up all control, and you have nothing to focus on but the language of your bike. It's melodic, like Mandarin, only in perfect three-part harmony with the road and the weather, a language created exclusively for your own pleasure. If you listen carefully, you can hear infinity. (The trick, I find, is translating the infinite into finite, discernible qualities on a constantly changing plane.)

I've never wanted children. Yet there's a justifiable conflict within my personality because I believe that there is no higher purpose in life, no higher calling than to be a loving mother. Mothers heal the world. How can a woman not want in to this mysterious and magical club, as ancient as time itself? In a universe that's ever-expanding like an infinitely pregnant womb, how can a woman elude expansion in its most powerful expression?

I'll never forget my wonderful and wise grandmother's words when I told her I was never having kids: "When you get to be my age, dear, all you have is your children and grandchildren." Yeah, that's haunting.

So I rode and listened and slept and sipped tea and looked out over astonishing foreign landscapes and thought all women want babies, shouldn't I? Ok, say I did, follow that thought process through. Do I want the experience of being pregnant? (That might be amazing.) Do I want to breastfeed? (I'd love to have large, full breasts, if only for a year or two before gravity grabbed them, and I've always thought breastfeeding would be the most erotic thing.) But do I want to deliver a baby? (Yikes!) Do I want to change diapers? Do I want to drag a toddler to pre-school? Do I want to wiggle loose teeth and leave loonies under pillows like I'm the tooth fairy, do I want to practice reading and pack healthy lunches and grow my own little human, taking all the mistakes of my parents and doing the opposite, seeing how that works, like an experiment in a petri dish except it would be real life?

I carried on thinking that way (quite seriously) for a couple more weeks. I thought it through grade school and arguments with teachers and high school teenage resentment and first love and fights and university and marriage and careers and successes and divorce and disease. I thought why would the world need a little clone of me? Why does the world just want to duplicate and duplicate until it can no longer sustain itself?

But no, mine would be different. My baby would be a perfect example of beauty and love and everything good and pure. My son or daughter would be a motorbike-riding vegetarian miracle, intelligent and gorgeous, taking up no more space and resources than anyone else; in fact, he or she would end up contributing to the healing of the planet. Yes, I would have a magnificent child, I would have a magnificent partner, and I would be a great mom!

Then I remembered my wise and wonderful sister Lara's comments before I left when I told her I was having maternal mind-fucks: "It's just not you," she said, so matter-of-factly that it came out like an official declaration, a definition of who I was not in her eyes. Yeah, that's haunting too. But not really, because she's right. It's just not me.

Still, I often wonder when I make a decision if I've made it through wisdom or through fear. I often think I possess disproportionate but equal amounts of cowardice and courage, and that somehow they just cancel each other out, leaving nothing driving nothing. As scary as that might sound, it's actually pretty liberating. And even if I do make a decision in fear, I know it's come within the infinite space of the road, in the silence between the harmonics between Henk the Buell, earth, and wind; and I have no choice but to trust the wisdom in that.

For almost five months, in exquisite silence, the pavement has disappeared behind me, blue skies, red rocks, yellow lines, yield signs, mountains, thunderstorms, spine-tingles and tears; then today, with enormous relief and halleluiahs and rounds of self-mocking belly-laughter, I find myself at home where I started where nothing has changed except my perspective--which changes everything.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The gods were in a fabulous mood when they created Utah.