Celebrating motorcycle dreams

For the past week I’ve been on an art road trip around the South. It’s a very cool thing I get to do at the end of each season, travel parts of the country returning unsold artwork back to artists so they can give it a go elsewhere.

What it means — besides road food and a body that feels as though it’s in forward motion even when in hotel rooms late at night — is that I get to stand in artists’ studios all across this land, witnessing elements of the creative process in crazily varied habitats.

What it also means is I get to see America, roadside view.

In some Southern somewhere, cresting over the top of a hill, I spied a newish motorcycle gleaming in the dirt driveway in front of a tiny rural home. If you’d taken the motorcycle inside it would have overwhelmed the living room.

I was struck by this: That near-new cycle sitting jauntily in front of a run-down home was the culmination of a dream.

Someone there fantasized about riding a motorcycle — for months, maybe even years. And now he is enjoying the hell out of it, even if every time he mounts it loved ones cringe.

I had motorcycle dreams, and I lived them out, winding from South Florida to Nova Scotia and half way back to Manhattan one long summer.

It’s the only time I ever saw tears in my Dad’s eyes, when I showed up with my motorcycle. He wouldn’t talk to me about it. He wouldn’t come outside to see it. That’s one way to find out your distant father loves you . . . it’s still a favorite memory.

Then, a few days later, in another Southern somewhere, I saw an older motorcycle outside near the road, with a For Sale sign on it.

That too is the culmination of a dream. When you’ve used up your dream and you realize it, and you’re ready to move on to new ones.

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