The snow was falling, each unique paisley crystalline pattern spiraling gently earthward. It had started just after 8:30 pm and was increasing its rate of descent, by morning Essex Vermont would be snuggled under a cold white blanket. This was not an unusual scene in Essex. Annually Essex receives almost 90 inches of snow fall, but this was only the end of October. That was a little out of character. Why, Alder Brook hadn’t even frozen over yet! Diligently, burnt umber and fiery red leaves were still clinging to the towering sugar maple and yellow birch trees that surrounded Vermont’s largest town. They stood, like silent sentinels guarding the sleepy ville from the ever encroaching outside and modern world. Yet despite the best efforts of the dominant hemlock forest, Essex had been changing. A huge Price Chopper grocery store, complete with a Little Caesars Pizzeria and a new Tattoo parlor were evidence of that. But for some, some like Jed Coleman, Essex would forever be a cozy little backwater where one could live their life as it used to be. Where a man could still be a man, where he could earn nine hours pay for an honest nine hours work and return home to rule his castle. Where a man could run his household as he saw fit, without all the bleeding heart liberal bull pucky that seemed to have ingrained itself in “modern society.” Yes, to some, Essex Vermont was a step back in time.
When was the last time you were scared? Not startled, like rounding a corner and someone is standing there. Or being cuddled up to your significant other while a Hollywood movie monster wreaks havoc on your TV screen. But scared? Let me rephrase, when was the last time you were terrified? I’m not sure we feel that level of intense fear too often in our lifetime, but when we do, it’s memorable and it can be an exhilarating experience. May 19, 2017 for me, coincidentally my mother’s birthday, fitting as I was thinking about her quite a bit that night. That night, I was huddled in a cheaply made tent on the side of a mountain. High in the Chanshal Pass to be exact, hovering above the Shimla district in Himachal Pradesh, India. At 14,830 ft above sea level, I was buried deep inside my sleeping bag and covered with a thick woolen blanket, beautifully woven in the style of the Himalayan Sherpas, and I was positive I was going to die.
Mac took off his spectacles and the world around him became an impressionist painting, blurry yet somewhat recognizable. He tilted his head back. It was raining and he let the cold drizzle pelt his weathered face. It stung him a little, but felt good. Mac squeezed his eyes shut, knitting his thick gray eyebrows together and stood motionless letting the water purify him. Breathing in and out he allowed the salt air of Kingfisher Bay to fill his lungs. The distant cry of two gulls cut through the patter of the droplets on the pier as they argued over the ownership of a scrap of discarded fish bait. He returned his specs to the tip of his nose and flexed his arthritic hands. A sharp pain shot up his arm to his shoulder. Like an electric shock it cleared his mind and signaled him now was the time for action. The old man looked at the large burlap bag on the dock, his black Wellington boots straddling the object. Rainwater was soaking into the absorbent material, it was collecting and pooling in the crevices. The sack would be heavy. He stared, willing it to move itself. Mac swallowed hard as tears welled up in the corner of his eyes. If he permitted, they would roll down his cheeks and mix in his beard with the rain. A quick shake of his head cured that. He could not spare the moment to indulge in emotion. There was a job that needed doing.
Beginning in 1500 BC, Alwar’s history has been woven into a colorful Rajasthani tapestry. It glitters as the princely state of Rajput, adorned with Delhi Sultans and garnished the Rulers of Jaipur. Throughout its history, Alwar has always sparkled like a deep blue sapphire in the red Rajasthan desert and today, the city of is full of hustle and bustle and features some fascinating destination locations. But for me it’s a portal back in time and therefore, a perfect place for riding and wandering.
First published in,
There is nowhere to hide on the open road. It’s just you, your bike and all your dirty little secrets. Long rides leave you completely exposed. They strip away all the superficial nonsense, all your polite societal veneer. If you ride long enough, every last one of your character flaws will get poured onto the pavement for inspection. Eventually, you will have to examine who you really are, like it or not. If you’re riding in a group, they’ll get to see who you really are too. Truthfully, it’s as simple as that. That does sound a little harsh, perhaps you don’t believe it? Do you find my ideas a bit too bombastic for biker talk, or are you chuckling at the ramblings of some antiquated folklore or worn out biker code? Then maybe, just maybe you’re not a biker after all…because the truth is, there ain’t no code, only open road.
Originally published in Collective Voice Magazine
As the launch date for The Collective Voice Lifestyle Magazine drew closer, the jabber and din within the writers’ camp grew to a defining roar. The excited discussions about inaugural posts and first articles were fervent. So many angles, so many viewpoints, and here I was, dear readers, your hero, with NO clear direction to in which to head. Everyone else was piously pitching ideas, bandying concepts; encouragement and suggestions abound. Such a diverse collective we are, the writers at The Collective Voice are from all around the world…all of us unique individuals…miles apart, yet drawn together…and thinking about that, the wheels began to turn.
“We will have to amputate above the knee I’m afraid; now go lay down on that table over there like a brave solider.” The young doctor was sitting beside me and delivered the news with a mixture of pity and bemusement. The sheer joy of it was painted all over his sadistic face. The older doctor behind the desk glanced up from my shattered ankle x-ray. His glasses were perched on the end of his nose and he gave a nod as he fixed me with an icy stare over the top of them. What the young doc had actually said was, ‘No riding for at least two more weeks; and if you have to go to Chail, ride pillion. Let’s not take any chances with you!’ But to me it sounded like, ‘Hack off all his limbs and feed them to the flying monkeys, no anaesthetic needed. Nurse Ratched, make haste!’. Due to this injury I had already missed a ride with my motorcycle club into the Himalayas the week before. This was agonizing news, as today, the cast had come off my leg and I was hoping to join friends on a ride to Chail this weekend. Yet, after a thorough examination with hot pokers and long sharp scraping clampy things which had been administered lovingly by the younger doctor, a negative ride request reply had been given. To be honest, I couldn’t be sure it was the young doctor doing the prodding; the examiner was clad entirely in black leather with a cape and hood. But I am certain I recognized the cologne.
Featured Article in Blogadda March 25th’s
Can you imagine? Sounds like the start of a bad joke. What would they drink for pity sake? The Englishmen would undoubtedly opt for a scotch, Chivas Regal if you please, as the Canadian scoffs and orders a Canadian Club rye whiskey and the Indian will nurse his Royal Stag. What happens when the cheque arrives? The Englishmen will feign a move to pick it up, thus causing the Canadian to grab for it first. The Indian sits with a fabricated blank look on his face, pretending he has no idea what is happening. This, in a nutshell, is my life! These are the conflicts that dwell within me . The endless struggles that tear me in three very distinct directions on a daily basis. With almost every decision, I am forced to choose between my blood, my heritage and my adopted culture. What have I done? What have I become? Good God man, I’m Canbritdian!!