Captain of our Souls… TX

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Spirit xxx

Old Faithful xxx

Out of the night that covers me 
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

     ~ William Ernest Henley ~ "Invictus"

Big Bend Park-2 xxx

Hard on the keyboard this early morning, my lid suddenly blew off and the power of any thoughts towards more editing our book vanished while the ribbons of road emerged as true images unraveling. It did not need to be just a dream, a desire or even a wish. We are indeed both, Spirit and I, the captains of our own souls. That is all what was needed as the laptop shut down, helmet and gloves in hand, the ignition key turned, the engine light came on followed by the crisps sound of a well tuned exhaust and on we rolled.

Big Bend Park xxx

Big Bend Park-5 xxx

Spirit knows the drill too well. Words are not even necessary. He watches me, observes and when he realizes it is that time, his composure changes from a tourist like sun bather, to this serious executive with his walk becoming firmer and eyebrows a bit tighter to sharpen his vision and probably his mind. He, on his own, jumps into his sidecar. All I need to do is clamp his harness, put his goggles on and snap the chin strap of his helmet. He takes on and will keep this serious look. He is all set. With some extra water, food, SAT phone and all the paraphernalia one hangs on to these days, we are both all set.

Big Bend Park-6 xxx

That Sunday was a hot day. I knew the day because since October 11th I have had a calendar staring at me daily. And a clock. It is also the day my Mother and I would talk longer. I don’t know why it had to always be that day, but it was special and comfort always filled the both of us while sitting back, listening to each other, together solving all the questions life would demand. We thought we did. I talked to her that day from inside my helmet. For those who have never ridden, I cannot explain or express the presence and closeness riding brings to one’s soul.

Marathon xxx

Marathon-3 xxx

Marathon-6 xxx

The relief emerged from the first mile on. It had been a few days since our last ride as I have been going through double shifts of editing. March 10th is the deadline for the start of the publishing steps. It is just a book I keep telling myself, but deep down I am pulling up from this ledge which only one more arm is needed to reach the peak. Terlingua, Big Bend Park, Marathon, Alpine and back here to The Oasis. A loop we have done so many times. Same old and all new as always.

Marathon-4 xxx

Marathon-5 xxx

Marathon-9 xxx

So much thinking goes on when the miles unravel on those more or less straight roads of this region. It is truly astonishing. I often have to force myself remembering those thoughts, or simply pull over to write them down while waving at the rare vehicle passing by letting them know we are alright and not broken down. They see me using a phone in an area where there is no cell service and probably think this poor guy, this tourist and his dog, needs some help! Sometimes the thoughts are deep and serious, sometimes silly, other times, fantasies triggered by a certain reality as an excerpt I wrote a while back…

118-2 xxx

“A squirrel froze in its steps, up he looked, right he went, stopped, changed his mind, one more look, indecision and I lost vision of him. I did not feel a thump nor did I see him in my rear view mirrors. One saved life. Half a mile later, probably one of his long lost cousins, now a bloody mass adorned the pavement ahead of me awaiting the buzzards probably on their way for breakfast. This time indecision seemed to have taken his own life. I looked up and amid the clouds playing, a jet is being followed by his own white trail disturbing the present canvas. Lightning fast he is from here to there, gone so quick. I thought of its 300 or so passengers. Each in their own tight seat with their little fold down tables in front of them, volume of sound knobs tucked into their armrests, more knobs above for light and artificial air. They were probably having breakfast. One of a different kind zapped by the microwaves the attendants were using. They did not have to wait for the squirrel’s indecision to be served. Was the Captain awake? Or maybe dreaming about a limo with a driver wearing a blue cap picking him up from the airport?”

The thoughts do have meaning. Fortunately or unfortunately!

Papercrete dwellings xxx

Papercrete dwellings-2 xxx

Papercrete dwellings-5 xxx

So we chatted in Terlingua, we did the same in Panther Junction, again in Marathon where we stopped at the papercrete dwellings and Alpine. I missed that. It was not only the ride but an unobstructed momentum of the day from time while only following the sun’s height in the sky. I missed that abandonment of one self when only wandering with no set destination. We did not have to make that loop, the idea was to get a morsel of a freedom from the road, an aspect I have left behind these past months while undertaking this book project.

Papercrete dwellings-9 xxx

Papercrete dwellings-8 xxx

Papercrete dwellings-11 xxx

I also thought about something I had written a while back. I read it the other day, it jumped at me shrinking that space of time between then and now, proving me so much has remained the same. We might think we are broken and need some fixing, but we are not. It is just plain life often not understandable, even bizarre if one starts looking around, life which keeps us going until our own time comes. Graciously I might add.

Moon set xxx

“I read another comment one day “Ara, your photography is simply awesome. However my friend, your commentary is a bit too abstract, too deep and is contradictory to the beauty of your photos. Neither do justice to each other…”. I grimaced when I read those words. I knew they had a certain reality to their meaning and represented the opinion of many who would prefer brighter spoken words on my pages, a better entertainment value, maybe even an in-depth ride report which is the fashion and a dime a dozen. Such were never my goals. I felt that my awareness has a particular brightness to it and not a numbness. Of course there are peaks and valleys as in everyone’s lives. My pages written, my life lived so freely, none are meant to hide in those valleys and peek out only when on the summits. Reality encompasses the complete array of life, the eternal balance and without one scale, such balance would always be tipped. I had always let it all out and I still do, as I write for myself so often reading back my own words discovering over and over where that day’s mile marker was. In the words of Dr Seuss ‘Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind’.”

Sunset-5 xxx

It was a fine ride and so was the day. I felt "me" again and I have no doubt Spirit did also, even though he did he asked me one more time when we were getting a dog like everyone else so he would have someone to play with while I played with this keyboard. 

Full Moon

Stay well,
                Ara and Spirit

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11 Responses to “Captain of our Souls… TX”

  1. heyduke50 Says:

    I for will have to say Dr. Seuss couldn’t have said it better… Enjoy…

  2. scruffy Says:

    Good write, good ride! You sound solid Ara 🙂

  3. Denny Gibson Says:

    I understand the “…abstract”, “…deep”, and “…contradictory to the beauty” comment as you obviously do. With some posts I scan the text, am reminded that it isn’t written for me, and just enjoy the photos. With others, even though I know they weren’t written for me either, it seems possible they were and I enjoy the words, too. This post was one of those.

  4. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Thanks for writing Denny. I should say “to share”. Have a great day. Ara and Spirit

  5. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Thank You Scruffy. We both are. This space is is magical. Back on wandering soon! Ara and Spirit.

  6. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Especially with all the social media avenues today! Thanks heyduke50… Ara and Spirit

  7. texascindy Says:

    Dr. Seuss was a very wise man indeed. And I agree with Spirit: he needs a youngster to share his ride with. He can teach a new one many things that otherwise he or she may not learn. I know you’ve said “no more dogs”. I understand your sentiment. Really I do. But Spirit may not agree…Hope to see you two soon! And I am loving all the cloud pics!

  8. Sandyleeisme Says:

    Oh Ara, I cherish your words AND pictures, so deep and thought provoking in a world that is so fast and furious often phoney. I obviously cannot understand your journey completely but I do get a taste of your freedom and connection with the “real world”. My father was much like you and craved solitude in the beautiful southwest – until the day he died. I feel connected to that world (his world) through your blog. Thank you for sharing it with us, and I hope you and Spirit ride forever.

  9. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Thank You for the understanding Sandy and writing us. It is much appreciated. Stay well. Ara and Spirit.

  10. Sally from MT Says:

    Oh, What feelings ran through me as I looked at your photos and read your words..I just know what it feels like to be on the road and be myself…I am like a fly stuck in flypaper here in this dismal mt winter, the more I struggle to leave to go south the more I get entangled here ..Thank you for letting me go on the road with you

  11. Krashdragon Says:

    Hi Ara,
    Ahhh… websites.
    I look at your piccys. I enjoy them, remember a few places I’ve seen and put others on my list to see.
    Read the day’s thinking. Sometimes I don’t understand it, but oh well, no biggie.
    They are your thoughts, not mine or anyone else’s.

    I’m sure others don’t understand how I can jump about with three different subject matters in the same sentence. I don’t really care.
    You take care and stay safe. Hugs to you both.

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