Those On/Off-Road Blues


The dirt has been your home for a week; the assimilation is complete. You’ll move at a different pace for a while. This isn’t madness, it’s acceptance; this is the good stuff. Like a full tank of gas or the catch of a spinning tire on horned gravel. The demons are gone now, silenced by nature’s pressing quiet. All that remains is the journey home.

So, there you are, arriving in a small town. In the middle of nowhere. Gear’d up to face the elements with boots a’stompin through a general store packed to the gills with the stuff of others’ life. You’re abuzz with four hours of highway and byway carving and you’re greeted with smiles and you’re sold simple food that you eat with your hands leaning against your machine.

To some, you are an oddity; to some you are compelling. People stare and questions are asked and fingers are pointed and nods of approval are shared. And then a bracing wind whips up and the sun dips behind a bank of cloud and the onlookers disperse, suddenly aware that you are gonna ride in this shit and for that they have no touchstone.

So, the helmet is donned and the jacket is zipped and the gloves are pushed onto now cold hands and for a fleeting moment, you wonder if moving on is such a good idea. You spin, with head tilted skyward, and the weight of the world presses down.

Until… the starter is thumbed and every compromised thought races to the farthest horizon. You settle onto the saddle and lift her off the stand and in an instant life has balance beyond science; beyond reason. I have to leave now. You won’t remember me, but I’ll remember you.

PhotographyMark Warford