Because, at this moment I'm at the lake house, and there are people around, and the sun is shining and the dog is chasing cattle in the fields up the hill... because my heart is beating and the tea is bitter, because of this I am ready to throw away the discontent. I'm ready to take a bite of the heart flesh outside of this season of moments where the meandering progression is driving me fucking mad. The compounded arrangement of 'nice' moments and boring moments is adding on to a tally of incidence that seems to drag me further and further in. The sun, to whom I so often refer, is helping little with his memories of mad rambling passed only a fleeting moment before in the grace of spontaneous grasp; in the day of some year where my luck and my medicine were strong enough to tear the course into death from daily inevitability. That was glory... and this as well -- for hope, and lust, and laughter can shake out the bleating of those in fear and those that have duty to consider. First. Before the lapse into presence, before the grip of desire. Before the momentary flash of fearless rambling without wonder of reprisal or care of condition. I could shake my head and howl, as I so often do, for the scene that clings to the frame begging for reference and continuity. For the shreds of others clinging to their clothing like ghosts wandering the passages of their fantasies. I can howl. So long and loud that the load is heavy as my lungs squeeze the empty burn back into my chest, where the visions of what can be infect me with the blinding nova of their fever. Here, then. I utter the diction of greed; in the course of the evolution of carnal taste I dane desire the cerebral kick -- the wake up you're here left hook to the cortex that sets the day on fire and forces a jig out of the formation of objectivity -- that is, the rocks and the trees and the stars. So what do you say? Can the push into hope be as reverential as the Halleluiah chorus? Does the cyclical cadence of Handel -- in all his recorded ecstasy -- have any connection to the cyclical puncture of revolving pistons that is the manifestation of mine?

It starts when the digital ignition coil synchs the crank and the cams with the fuel charge and the spark. This results in a softly muted burbling sound that registers on the tachometer as seven or eight hundred revolutions per minute. I love this sound, and remember that it was a cool sunny day, and the last traces of dew are just vanishing off of the saddle. The pack gets strapped to the tank, and the sleeping bag and tent are fastened to the pillion. Climbing onto the bike, the eastern edge of the Atlantic ocean is clear and present; it washes the sky with the fractured course of thousands of sea birds and their calls. In the distance, opposite the sun, the body of a precipitous dark voyager is promising to make the day wet. The Pyrenees to the south are fully visible and a smile spreads out before the word of the road. Leather jacket is zipped, and light black racing helmet is drawn over my skull -- this hard top is home and the growling downstairs is family and the tires are wide and the road is long... This is mine -- and nothing can make it less. The bike is warm, I remember, and when it is put in gear it clicks nicely because it has had the wakeup call and it has been running for five minutes and the oil surges in its belly and I'm roaring off -- away from the rain-time refuge and lumpy bed of last night, miserable - tasty - wet to the bone, only night, Bayonne.

Into this day, down the hills past the terraced dwellings of provincial France with their compact assortment of grape vines and driveways hiding behind incongruous palm trees to the bottom of a valley with tree-lined roads and girls in little skirts and lunchpails waiting for some kind of bus - to the signed border crossing into Spain. I slow down behind subcompact Peugeots, but the windmilling soldier with the machine gun and the smile is waving them all through, 'till he comes to me and then he looks me in the eye, his arm comes around, and he waves me on as well. There is little doubt that his smile never wavers as it shines out past the the people into France. Come one, come all. Spain with sun and sea and heart awaits. His smile is the scope of wide ranging eyes that know what's in the box and waves us on into the mysteries of our own imaginations; so that we may find the blood of inquisition and the hope of a lusty, dancing, senorita willing to baptise her body as altar with the accruement of our own bloody sin. As a stamp of knowledge this smile rides with me in memory; as a montage of hot lead and force and the stinging sun, so welcome to Spain. The highway courses out as if on a gravel bed under water, and I surge away through light traffic -- Our motion is formed as context and purpose in this path to everywhere, but especially San Sebastian twenty kilometres on, which presently fills the visor of my helmet.

This is an old city, and as much composed of my wonder as anything. A part of me demands a day or more on the cafe terraces but the cloud is threatening the sun and I'm two days late out of London as of yesterday at four AM, and I have just seen France at a gallop in fifteen hours, and now half of Spain lays before me, before three PM. I draw up to a National Bank and trade my money, and I'm off. Out of San Sebastian. Into the Mountains. These are tall and thin -- of an entirely different, more ancient species than the pulverising rockies. The road soars up out of the city into a broad tunnel that crosses the hip of the first ridge where on the lip of the exit a valley is spreading before me. The pavement is fresh and holds the wheels well; tracking gravity, I accelerate down the mountain pulling the day after me with the closing moments of sun; the voyager has arrived and by the time I'm at the belly of the valley a steady drizzle has begun.

What starts as the wild ride of glossy spears slows to a meander as the ascent begins. These are industry tracks and though signed as freeways, are subject to overloaded undersized trucks on 180 degree switchbacks, and I notice the highway is just over one lane wide. Cars are riding on the shoulder as they meet the lumbering servants of these peaks. Wet to the bone now, the velocity of passing on uphill straights has driven moisture into the leather jacket. Once past the last lorry the road opens and I continue climbing. There is surprise when I cross the frost line; my leather jacket begins to freeze and I feel it creaking as my body forces direction changes out of the momentum of the bike. The deer skin of my riding gloves is especially crispy. Hands are thrust down into the heat sleeve between the engine and the fairing; this offers temporary relief of the cold tension. Spain, Spain, you frigid bitch! What are you doing to me? Where's your heat? The road has been empty for miles and the dynamism of the cycle is goading me on -- I speed up across the plateau of this peak and welcome the descent once more into warmer air. I carry the momentum of my thought in the velocity of cornering transitions. This is, by turns, the greatest and the foulest ride in memory.

Slate grey sky is hanging in dense sheets above my bubble of motion. The force of controlled explosion, sheathed in alloy and transmitted into a linear expression, drives me along; I am lost in momentum, in impulse. The emptiness of this road is startling and magnificent. I am flying on land past the fixed monuments of Spanish truck stops on the plateaus, and of silent faces dreamed along the serrated roadside. I am lost in the easy tracery of my heart and breath and the concise control of everything my motion requires. I have blipped around an elevated pass and am descending in the opposite direction around the arm of some nameless peak. The corner describes a 180 degree arc and the speedometer reads 110km/h. Downshift, downshift, the horizon falls away and the bike sucks up the corner with pegs lightly kissing the fleeing pavement. The outside edge of this turn's defining apex is marked by a short stone wall and a drop of over a thousand feet. The apex has been clipped and the road still winds back just out of range of peripheral vision when a wall of steel with the displaced lettering of a Mack truck fills the path of a totally engaged, entirely leaned over motorcycle. It is taking the whole road, and the dispassionate portion of decide and execute says 'live or die.' So nothin' left to lose, which is to say totally free, and the bike straightens, course alters, pegs scrape the wall and I pull my leg up as the chasm yawns, letting me know it is unimpressed by death, so it's life and as there's nothin' left after that but the rest of the day, I remember, because there's a sun that is still shining on my back and the light from this sun is coming off of the lake with that fluid sparkle and the dog is barking, and the tea is bitter and I was real at that instant whereas now the sun is going down and with the sunset I'm just a hero and after all, everyone knows a hero is just a man.

All words © Brian O'Reilly