I’ve been spending time on…

…the floor of my living room for the first time. It’s because since working primarly from home, my stretching and exercises are done at home on my mat instead of on the floor of the gym at work. Being on the floor is giving me a glimpse into my dog’s perspective. Dog rest her beautiful soul.

The quiet of home during work hours has me examining my work. Thinking about whether it’s really even worth doing — aside from the purpose of getting paid. Thinking about whether it really accomplishes much in the scheme of things. Do I really accomplish much more than my dog did? Probably not even as much. She set an example. She was a role model in terms of what quality behavior is. She spent her life just being and experiencing, interacting.

The juxtaposition of backpacking with motorcycling (that’s a moto jacket). On a backpacking trip with my hiking buddy, she said “you don’t exactly seem like a motorcycle guy”. It’s this assumption that we identify with our activities. I don’t think I do identify with what I do. I really enjoy riding and motorcycles. But the activity doesn’t constitute me. I think we’re just experiencers. We’re looking outward. Seeing the road and landscapes pass, while occasionally noticing our hands on the grips. Enjoying the tactile experience of clutching, shifting, being moved through surroundings by a machine that someone and other machines built.

I went to see a friend’s band play, and he introduced me to someone as the drummer of such and such band. My reaction, which I didn’t state, was “wait; no no no…I’m not a drummer. It’s true, I played drums in my friend’s band for a few years. But I’m not a drummer.” Our activities don’t define us, I don’t think. Although I think our attitude and behaviors do. Anyway, I enjoyed the experience of hitting percussion thingies with sticks, the sounds and vibrations interacting with those of bandmates’ instruments, which they were also exerting some kind of finessed and timed force upon to produce some patterned sound. But they too are only people doing that, experiencing that. We just experience daily until we’re unconscious for about eight hours each night. We do this for about 80 or 100 years, and then what? I’ll have to look into that part more.

Hikes and Rides

Being homebound during the week got me out for the weekend. Yesterday was for a big loop ride. Rode all day, and even stopped for a break for a short hike to catch-up with a friend south of home. But just after Redmond, I had to stop for a shot of these senior members of the Cascades SW of the town:

Then today a hike in an area closer to the hometown. For some reason the rivulet patterns in the ditch caught my eye. Mini dams made of pine needle, twig, and silt. Can’t discern them well in the picture, but I consider them the sculptures of winter rain runoff:

Sounds in the woods again captivated me. The wind, creaking, and birdsong:

And this bird beautifully flew over me when I was experimenting with the zoom on my camera. (You really need to select the high definition setting at playback):

Being stuck at home all week is really making me and allowing me to explore on the weekends. It’s mainly solo, but still very nice. Seems to occur at the right pace when solo.

I noticed while riding how…

…different it feels exploring knowing that sit-down stops at a diners or coffee shops are not yet again routine, not quite yet allowed. A stop for the magic of something as simple as a chocolate chip cookie dipped in coffee, and that partially dissolved chocolate found in the last sip. All these tricks we’ve done over the centuries with plant matter. And then this loss of access to these stops leads me to wonder why I would even leave my neighborhood when such establishments are here; sometimes I think I could be a tourist just in my own neighborhood, and then I contemplate the meaning and purpose of tourism or exploring. I guess such establishments are the conduit and commonality between and among places, cultures and micro-cultures. And it’s these places I want to see because they tie things together.

Typically I would ride with a riding buddy. But last weekend I rode solo, actually passing through a riding buddy’s town, enjoying the aesthetic of the little berg, but unable to try any of the coffee joints. I’ve been riding strictly solo while restrictions seem to still be in place.

Now that I think about it, even when I’ve been overseas in quite different cultures, even if still western, I’ve actually not been that interested in food even though I enjoy it there. I’m more interested in being in the midst of the cultures’ age, history. Its age compared to young US culture is what has intrigued me. Sometimes I’d think US culture was ahead, and sometimes behind, whatever the place I visited. Even in the one eastern country I visited. Then I’d realize this inconsistency (“behind” versus “ahead”) was just pointing out that people are alike, which ties everything back together through similarity between places and cultures old and new. But then if I just walk into the woods for two days, any cultural differences are impossible, not even on the radar. The critters think and act mainly about and on food; but that’s what I’m frequently seeking out in small US towns: food — the connection between US micro-cultures.

But back to the “cultures’ ages” thing. Without that age/history of older towns by comparison to US ones — even western places like London — exploration of towns and culture here consists of absorbing a little town as a microcosm differing slightly in story from neighboring towns. Different stories, but similar or same routines and cafes, diners. People in general just seem to have the same pastimes regardless of where I am. On one level, these towns are all indistinguishable from any western culture on earth, and on another, each is its own thing: a microcosm which is separate by time-frame/history/story. Personal histories that make up neighborhood history, town history. Any larger scale than that and it tends to all blur again with the world’s western civilization in general.

People in my riding buddy’s town seemed to want the same thing as anyone else. To be out in the sun, to swim, to treat themselves to a restaurant meal or ice cream. To have a break from work life. To avoid or spend time with family, depending on their circumstances. These are my guesses about people while riding through, unable to hear through ear plugs let alone my helmet. A snapshot with assumptions built on learned and perceived histories.

All I’m saying is I rode through my friend’s town last weekend.

Woods, cars and bikes

Still just looking at backpacking equipment. Checking fuel cans’ weight. Seems I have everything to hike into national forest but permission. It’s odd; we don’t have much resembling authoritarian authority on these restrictions; we probably wouldn’t even be cited for breaking rules. But I’m home until this all “flattens”, as they’re saying. But I’m certainly thinking about the first places here I backpacked after the move. I’ll return there; there’s something sentimental about the places.

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And of course this backpacking gear is the same that’s used for moto trips. I’m nicknaming this bike Emptybags. They need filled with simple food — baguette, coffee, oatmeal, nuts. That’s all I need to live on on these trips. And water. The rack will have the tent and sleeping bag. Emptybags for now, national forest for later.