When I left New Orleans today I got a little lost working my way to the freeway entrance. I ended up in the surrounding area and towns. Wow. I'm glad I did as I got to see a bigger picture. Most of the tourist area has been repaired since the hurricane. In the surrounding area it is bad. I drove around for half an hour and saw instances where entire blocks had only one house occupied. There were so many houses and businesses boarded up. Most unoccupied homes still had spray paint near the front doors with codes on them that I could not decipher. These were done in a circle pattern with letters all around, presumably codes by and for the rescue crews. Some of the spray paint was not in code. "Gas Off" was a common note near doors. A sad one I saw in huge letters read "SPCA, DOG, DOA." How do you feel going home to that house, ready to clean up, painting over those words? Do you you feel a little good knowing the SPCA tried? There were other houses, SPCA written on them, with what I imagine were happier stories. The people I did see outside of the occupied homes looked normal chatting with each other, cars in good shape, homes painted. A great contrast to so much around them. A lot to consider. I missed all of that coming in on the freeway.
After I got on the freeway, I really settled in. Today I felt good riding and just kept going, I didn't want to stop. I went much farther than Houston which I had thought would be my stop for the night. Some days that's what it's about, riding and letting the mind wander. I crossed more than half of Texas today and I didn't once stop to get lost in a town, explore a site, visit an attraction or a museum. It's not Texas' fault, I was in a riding zone. Texas was a good friend. It gave me the road, space, and time to think without asking for anything in return. Thanks Texas. There were even fireworks at the end. I kept riding a while into the night. The smells change in the night, it's a good time to ride. With my thoughts I enjoyed the changes in vegetation over the miles, colors of the sky over the hours, and of the smells into the night. I felt very good and in my place riding today- exactly where I needed to be in the Universe.
I thought about family, Agusta, my life and death perspectives over time, being young and having crushes, being young still and loving a wife, The Kid, choosing life (this ride, looking down from Half Dome, appreciating, etc.), choosing oblivion (all those strategies I have used to numb my mind including sleep deprivation and over eating, besides the obvious like drinking), experiencing without objective versus working to achieve before a time limit, some interesting things people have said to me over the years, good lines from books, what my trip looks like from an airplane, Lucky Mud, how long it takes for the chemicals of an emotion to process through my blood, the qualities that are me and that I do not intend to change, qualities I appreciate in others but have no intention to take on, gratitude, and so many other thoughts. One thought led to another. My perspective would change on topics. My mind would come back to certain concepts. It was a long ride. The cool thing was the tone my thoughts took. The feeling was soothing, like rubbing my belly from within my mind. Eventually my mind went quiet. Then it went alert, and here I am. With a comfortably rubbed mental belly.