Saturday, July 17, 2010

Doors and Windows

Here, this moment, at the swimming hole on the rocky banks of the Esopus, I look up to the mountains rising starkly all around, and suddenly I see that the world is painted in love. I am alone in this green and gray, and I drip water from a swim in the fast current that makes a poor man's Endless Pool (TM). Nelly has finished screaming for me on the shore while I am but five feet out--she likes me, as we have established, but not enough to get her feet wet--and is off trolling the waterfront for dropped Cheetos crumbs (now that the last family has left just as we arrived, and with them their hopeful picnic hamper and garbage bag). She has found every molecule of foodstuff among an acre of rocks, and nameless bits of inedibles as well.

The world looks like love to me now because yesterday I rode a Moto Guzzi again, at last. My Moto Guzzi. It does not seem possible that that lovely silver machine, sinuous curves and engine block that holds up its two arms as if to the sky in hallelujah (look to your cylinder heads!), is mine. But it is. It has both come back to me out of the past, and points toward a new future that I cannot yet know. A good thing, not to know what surprises lay ahead. (Yeah, duh, or they're not surprises, are they? Or life?)

I had put my hand out in the darkness, grasped something, and now see diamonds in their unnumbered spill falling from my fingers.

As sultry evening comes down, alone on the rocky banks of the Esopus, I feel unalone, and rich.

On my office floor at this moment is spread a large map of the United States. That, too, will soon be mine (the real stuff beneath the skin of the map, I mean). And similarly, I will not believe it until it arrives: the day of leaving, of slipping the clutch. Guzzis gave me something for this, too, although I will be on the big BMW for the long trip and big load: a great new friend to ride with, funny and kind and capable and a hell of an elegant rider. I am hoping he will lead, just for the pleasure of watching him ride. And, I confess, for his GPS.

I don't know why things turn out the way they do. But sometimes, it seems because it is that they must. It's analogous to what Nelly's trainer said long ago, when I was tight with frustration over her recalcitrance to civilized behavior: "You get the dog you need." I needed Nelly to teach me tolerance, acceptance, and the grace that both confer. I am still trying, every day, and that is the perverse gift I also could use.

The things that happen are the things you needed to have happen. The terrible, and the good that comes reeling out of it, like silk ribbon. It can take time, but it always, always comes.

This weekend during the festivities in which the sweet Lario came home to me, I found myself looking down at my wrist. There was the bracelet that is now my favorite. I saw it many years ago, and requested it for a present. I said it represented something I dearly wanted to believe, though I did not fully understand it, or need it, then. "When a door closes, a window opens," it reads. How could I have known then that a door would slam, and it would take me a long period of staring at a hole in the wall, sill and frame and sash raised high, before I could see what it was?

The window, opened wide. For me to go through. I stand on the other side, and turn back to look.


Steve said...

Congratulations! A party is in order for the arrival of the Lario and the discovery of the open window. Make it a weeks-long, thousands-of-miles celebration to do it justice. :-)

Viva l'amore!

Melissa Holbrook Pierson said...

Every minute I'm on that bike is a party, Steve. And I'm hoping to close down the bar.

Tennessee Budd said...

I don't have a Guzzi, but I do have a CX500 (Japanese knockoff). Hey, at least it's a transverse V-Twin.
Have a blast on the BMW!

John L said...

Doors close, windows open - but don't forget a voltmeter. Even if you don't know how to use it, someone will.

Melissa Holbrook Pierson said...

Budd, I seem to be having a blast no matter what bike I'm on. Hmmm. Is it something about motorcycles?

John, maybe you'll teach me how to use one? Since you've taught me pretty much everything I've learned so far.

Anonymous said...

Ah, back on a Lario. My friend Dave in Baltimore has been consulting me about a motorcycle buy and I was steering him toward a used V11 Sport. It was that or a 99 Triumph. The guy with the Guzzi was preety horrible and there were ownership issues. He got the Triumph.

Guzzis make a very strong emotional case..


Tennessee Budd said...

Melissa, me too. Must be bikes.
As to voltmeters, you'll be fine. Just remember that you can check voltage in parallel, but you have to check current in series.

Melissa Holbrook Pierson said...

Bert, everyone who deserves one will finally get around to a Guzzi.

Budd: I wish I knew exactly what that meant. Really.

Anonymous said...

Is this your old Lario? Or just another that you found? Funny, I just read your book and was trying to find out if you're still riding and if you're still riding Guzzis....when did you quit and why/when did you get back in the saddle?

Melissa Holbrook Pierson said...

No, it's not the same Lario--a "new" old one. I had an 11 -year hiatus from riding: a long, long story. But one which shall come out . . .

I'm back to bikes now for a year and a half--seems much longer, because I'm getting a lot of miles in. I'm a two-motorcycle family now: Guzzi and BMW. Something for every mood.

Anonymous said...

Good news eh? I had 3 weeks off my bike due to illness, then rode it again last week and I was grinning all the way! Guzzis do that to you I think.. Unfortunately I'm ill again (pneumonia) so its going to be a few weeks again...I like your saying about Guzzis, that those that deserve them have them.

Scotty from Devon

Melissa Holbrook Pierson said...

Hey, Scotty--feel better soon, please. You need your ride, and your ride needs you. Fingers crossed for you.