A Good Day ...

Oppressive heat and the occasional torrential downpour are hardly conducive to a leisurely outing on the motorbike.  Yesterday afternoon the confluence of just bearable weather and an aching need to put my knees in the breeze, had me on the road and heading to a rocky outcropping in the middle of a rice field.  Passing routinely, on our main route to town, I have often thought of approaching closer for a better look.  The dirt turnoff from the main road is still doable on the Phantom but with a few more heavy rains, it would surely become off limits to such a bike.  At speed it was comfortable enough but the moment I stopped to take pictures the perspiration began flowing freely.  As it turned out, morning light would have been more complimentary to my subject but one makes do with what one is given.  As I headed around the back of the mountain to see where the trail might lead, the phone rang.  Recognizing my wife’s distinctive ringtone, I was quick to answer and put her on speaker, as removing my helmet was too slow and cumbersome.  The flip-up, modular helmet comes in handy for phone calls, refreshments and taking pictures. 

Turns out a Thai friend of ours had called from his orchard in the hills near Sop Pao and extended an invitation to come gather some lychee.  Returning home, necessitated my passing very near, so on my wife’s urging I proceeded to my new destination.  Having been there only once before, I missed the unmarked turnoff and had to stop and ask directions.  As it happened my petrol light came on, signaling the need for a top up so I kept and eye out for the ubiquitous wooden shack with a row of glass cylinders half full of the pinkish fluid my trusty steed required to quench its thirst.

Finally arriving at my destination, I was confronted with the strange vision of my friend with an unusual umbrella contraption, strapped to his head.  What it lacked in beauty, it made up for in function and practicality, however.  Soon our gathering grew from two to seven with the arrival of his wife, sister and others.  We took in the view from his hillside shack, talked and sampled the fruit from the trees.  I was tempted to linger till sunset but thought better of driving in the dark and took my leave in the late afternoon, saddlebags stuffed to overflowing with fruit.

I arrived home to children playing volleyball in the driveway and my wife fashioning paper bags over her favorite mangos, to keep them bug free as they ripened on the tree.  Cookie and I enjoyed our own private, pond-side sunset and marveled at the fish as they competed for every fistful of pellets scattered upon the water’s surface.

Did I accomplish anything on the day?  Was I productive?  Did I earn my daily bread?  Will anyone but me, be moved by or remember these simple pleasures?  I think not.  Ask me, however, if it was a good day and you will see a smile creep into the corners of my mouth and a far off look in my eyes as I say nothing, merely nodding in silent affirmation.