Monday, June 17, 2013

Whirling on a motocycle

I ride on the back of my husband’s motorcycle, and this thing I do is not motherly.

We fly away, just the two of us. I hold his waist and smile at the breeze.  The dirt under my nails joins us for the ride, and the sweat, from my garden-work.  But my love has come from his office, where work was hard and cold on a computer screen.  He does not mind my earthiness.

The corn is coming up. Everything is green.  God is kind to give us this season of miracles, when dead seeds burst to life and we learn to hope again.

The heat and the itch from the garden work are blown away.

There is a farmer on a four-wheeler, inspecting his crops. When he looks at them, does he see business, and dollar signs? Or does he see God’s touch, does he marvel at the sprouts? Does He pray for God’s kind protection and rain like mercy?  Does it terrify him, or please him, to behold millions of fragile spouts in this great expanse?  How many mouths will be fed from these beautiful acres?

A steep hill, and speed. I look away from the fields and ahead, and my heart jumps. Steep up, steep down, speed and tilting, and oh, the wind! The air, the speed, the life!

I have a need to stand near the edge, to feel this small risk, to feel my heart beat. N.D. Wilson

Slowly I take my hands off of his waist. I slide them to my knees, casually, and then I let them fall back, and open. I spread my arms and arch my back in the wind. 

Consider the works of His hands, the nerve-endings on arms that dance and sing on such a day as this. Consider the gift of the spring breeze, a gift not asked for, or needed, or named, until it was given and bodies received and responded with joy and gratitude.  Who is this God, Creator of such a body and such a day?

I notice a car coming, so I sit up, act normal, pretend I’m not about to explode for the wonder around me.  

This weekend, I am planning a garden, and a sleepover, and he plans a funeral.  We plant seeds.

Onward, we fly past homes where people tend flowers and cows and children.  We fly through green life under the warm sun, yet even on this day I know sudden winter can come like a car wreck, like cancer.  Death comes even in spring, even on this green day.  How many roadside turtles? How many loving and loved? How many mamas on motorcycles?

To my surprise, we are suddenly in town. I have no idea how this happened, and I smile on my back seat.  It is good to follow the one who knows the way.  It is good to be the one with her head in the cornfields and the dirt and the sun, and to arrive safely, despite herself.

We slow, and stop briefly at a corner. The skin on my upper arm is cool, and in a flash, I feel and remember my grandmother’s hug. Cool, sagging flesh made a warm embrace.  Was it better to give or receive such hugs?  Do I appreciate them more now, in my memory, then I did when they were given?  And will my arms be given days of cool sagging and warm embracing?

My love and I, we do not fear death. How can you fear from the hands of Him who is Life?  We drive on, looking death in the face, and we shall win.  We win, again and again, until the day that we lose. But today, on this motorcycle, we win.

We do not fear death, and yet he slows down, way down, on the loose rock.
I am grateful.
There are children at home.

Inspired by Notes from The Tilt-A-Whirl.  
Wonder, from my eyes, in my scene, on today’s stage.

Your comments make my day!  What do you think of this writing "voice?"


  1. This is so beautiful. I can feel the wind in my hair and the see the sun dancing off the earth. True artistry in motion!

  2. Beautiful, vivid writing! This style always appeals to something within me, painting a picture with words. Love it. But I will say, you'll never find me on the back of a motorcycle NOT hanging on for dear life. Your fearlessness is inspiring too! :)

    Oh and you asked me about my van, yes, it is a 15 passenger! I call it my Swagger Waggon...on Steroids. Everyone's jealous. Go Econolines!

    1. HA! I had no idea we were so cool! LOVE the swagger wagon!!!

    2. Our minivan can fit one more carseat, but then I guess we gotta get the homeschool van (also called the "Catholic van" around here). I know neither one of you are homeschooling or Romanist, but the names have stuck. We've also considered just going everywhere in two cars.

      Your best yet, Emily. Your writing has really expanded since I first started reading your blog. Love it!

  3. I enjoyed reading this post. It's encouraging to hear a mother of six with all the sobering daily reponsibilities demanded of her out enjoying a brief moment in time like that. I don't think I could brave a motorcycle right now but I've always loved camping for some of the reasonsyou mentioned, like walking out of our tent into the warming rays of the gorgeous sunrise hitting the mountains all around us and the huge Columbia River below in the valley. I feel that same thrill and wonder at life, that almost painful sting of intense joy, and longing to capture the uncapturable.

    ( I knew your styling felt different when I began reading this. I liked it. I've heard of that book from a few people now.)

  4. I was going to mention that I've read many articles and stories by Nathan Wilson in the past, and this was indeed reminiscent in styling. You're good! ;)

  5. Oh, and just to let you know, it's only 10:23 where I live. Just in case you were wondering why I was reading this in the middle of the night. That's not to say I don't read things at 1 in the morning, I just don't comment and incriminate myself! :D

    Ok, I'll be quiet now.

  6. Love, love, love Emily. I could feel myself on that motorcycle and feel the wind. I very much enjoy your writing. never stop


Web Analytics