There are two kinds of people in this world:
Reality vs The Dream, one might say. Others might call it simply those who say yes, and those who do not say yes. Night riders, or people that don't. I'm not trying to glorify what I do, because it's not for everyone - I get that. But into the storm we went.
Tuesday Night. Post TNW Road Ride. The storms blowing in across the mountains look purple on the radar, but I lie to Fort and tell him it's looking clear because I really do think we've got time to make it happen. As so often happens, I was wrong.
Conditions were sketchy, right from the start, and Fort might need stitches when he wakes up and gets the rocks out of his knee this morning. There was thunder and lightning pretty much straight overhead, a little mud and a lot of wet roots, and a certain level of nature-induced panic that even the deer seemed to feel as the storm really set in and got worse. Having been struck by lightning once already in this life, and sensing the treachery, I was a little scared - but mostly just exhilarated. But that's almost never the point. I don't actually know what the point is, but it's not that.
I've given up on trying to find the point in night riding anyway, and I've given up on trying to explain it to people. Covered in dirt and soaking wet, we bribed the bartender at Pro De Nata into serving us after he'd already counted the drawer, and the old guy on the stool next to me in the Mossy Oak hat was asking us, "Wait, you were just out there doing what?"
I try to spell it out to him in the most basic terms, but paradoxically those are the most difficult to understand:
in a thunderstorm
"wait, you were riding bikes on Miller School Road?"
No, on the trail.
He doesn't get it. I have to keep in mind, in situations such as this, that I'm the weird one, and he doesn't get it because it defies explanation, and even I don't really understand why I do this, and even if I did, I couldn't put it into words that someone who doesn't love night riding would understand, and like all things in life that only have individual meaning, most other people don't care.
Like all of those owls out there on the back perimeter trail last night - the loudest family of birds I've ever heard. They were raucous, but still somehow in harmony, scream-singing at us in a language we couldn't understand.
Turns out Fort doesn't need stitches, but he's gotta take a few days off and let it heal. Like Bukowski said:
How are you going to tell the dreamer there's a 15% take on the dream?
He'll just laugh and say,
Is that all?
Straight out into the dark, and up, up, up.