Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Roads I Didn't Take

tenaja roadJust pick a road and follow it, is what people often say.

A road doesn't offer any promises, doesn't claim to take you where you plan on going, doesn't guarantee any smooth sailing. It is only what it is, just a road.

It's a road less traveled, one that few ever want to ride, but seemingly combines glorious views of pristine Southern California wilderness, the trickle of running water, the songs of birds, and the aroma of wildflowers, yet it does so along a narrow, bumpy, sandy path filled with tight turns that kept me riding slowly between first and second gear.

I could have spent time admiring my surroundings, but the technical nature of this road demanded more attention, and left me wondering why such a road that offers such serene beauty, demands one to look at only pavement.

tenaja road creek
And it seems like that's how everything is, in opposite extremes that compete against each other. Whether it's beauty and ugly, rain and sunshine, love and hate, right and wrong, it's always a struggle to find our comfortable balance between the two. Did I choose this road to get someplace, or was it because I wanted to indulge my senses?

Another road up ahead comes into view and I wonder if it's worth following. I turn my head and look down as I pass it by to see if it might go somewhere or just dead end.

I'm already half-way along this route but decide to turn back and see where that other road goes. Will I find more beautiful scenery? Will it take me someplace memorable? Or will it disappoint and cause me trouble? Am I better off sticking to the road I was on?

I guess I'll never know if I don't check it out.


Perhaps if all I had to worry about was myself, it wouldn't matter. If I didn't have other commitments, or didn't make other promises, I'd have all the time in the world to take a chance on a different road, and uncover the mystery of what lies behind the next curve.

But I'm really only adding pressure to myself with these thoughts, ending up only confused, and constantly at odds with deciding what to do and where to go. Perhaps in life we pass by many roads that we chose not to take; the balance between keeping focus on the road, looking at all the wonder around us, and even the constant reevaluation of our decisions, leave us to second-guess or to justify our choices.

As riders always say, "It's not the destination, but the journey".

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About Steve

San Diego, CA-based motorcycle rider who likes long road trips, old rustic bars, craft beer, and tough women. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, writing about the mysteries of life. (Read more...)