Archive for March 24th, 2015|Daily archive page

Navigating Corners

Well, I didn’t pull out as planned, stayed one more day. I just couldn’t give up until I had touched the Mayan ruins in Conaculta. I caved, I took a bloody taxi. A fast ambiguous lane cell phone texting tope hopping knee on the steering wheel loud Mexican music playing – yipity this is kinda fun – young driver got me there. In one piece. At one point I became quite thankful for his plethora of religious artifacts hanging from the mirror and bobble-heading on the dash. Phew.

Anyway, I still have hands to have time on so you’ll have to excuse (or avoid) my rather circuitous ramblings. Scary enough, I think there’s a theme here, but if you’re the type of person that requires a point, I invite you to make it. Doesn’t really matter though, I’ll insert pictures and I invite you to make them as relevant or as irrelevant to the text as they may or may not be.

I know very little about the Mayan culture, I suspect they know less about me. Coincidentally though, new archeological theories released just this week have tried to explain how Mayan’s turned the corner from hunter-gatherers to an agrarian culture; a major shift in direction for most humans. And, I’m not convinced there’s much evidence that turning that corner has been navigated well, by any culture. Or, still is being navigated all that well, by us.

What got to me today was touching those ancient stones in a setting that nearby has a crumbling four lane highway and a few kilometers away, a nuclear energy plant. Bet the Mayans never saw that coming.

The fact is, I claim no knowledge, authority, wisdom or deep experience of much value to anyone. I don’t say this out of humility, I say it to avoid the responsibility of making a point. Besides, apart from myself and a few others, I have no idea who will even read what I write. I have even less of an idea how what I write will be interpreted – down the road, even by me. I sort of heard the Mayan stones hum the same tune today.

In the present moment though, I do think the landscape of my personal history informs my interpretation of my situations. What surprises me, even more than the situations around the next corner, is how I navigate the corner itself. It apears to me it’s the “how” I navigate that enables or impedes what I see, in both myself and the world.

There are hundreds of people in my little Prince Edward Island home, living right now, that have had a thousand times the on-the-ground adventure I will ever have. That includes almost everyone in a uniform. There are even more than hundreds that are more traveled than I will ever be. Most of those people have brought their travels and their adventures upon themselves, some have had the travel and adventures imposed upon them.

Then again, there are also people who haven’t moved far from where they were born, and it’s likely they will die in the same area. Some of those people have had adventures far more profound than most of us will ever have. It could be said that they have travelled further than most too. I’m sure that some of their stories bring tears to the eyes of angels.
Some time ago, I said the day I stop fearing motorcycles is the day I’ll stop using them. They are dangerous contraptions; why would any sane person willingly put their ass on one? I haven’t got a clue. But, I know why I ride. Physically and metaphorically speaking, it’s to ride the corners.

If anyone rides a bike going faster than 15 kph or so, counter steering is necessary. It must occur, it’s not an option. When navigating a corner on a motorcycle, if you don’t counter steer, you don’t turn in the direction you want to go. That’s a bad thing. Put simply, when you turn right, you turn the bars to the left. Turn left? Turn bars right. Actually, you push the right handle away from you if you want to turn right, push left to turn left – just a different way of saying the same thing. I can’t explain the physics of the maneuver, but that’s the way it is. If you don’t believe me, Google it.

I’ve met riders, usually beginners but sometimes even the experienced, who don’t even realize they’re counter steering. In fact, I’ve told people that they’re counter steering and they thought I was nuts until they get back on the bike and realize that to turn a corner they have to counter steer. No choice. To be fair, counter steering is also counter intuitive. However, being conscious of it changes everything.

And, there’s the rub. Even though there’s no choice, being conscious about the choices we’re making makes all the difference – in the world. Especially when going around corners on a motorcycle.

But it does leave me wondering: How did the Mayans, and all the travelled and not so traveled amoung us, turn the corner from a hunter-gatherer people to an agrarian people? Were they (are we) conscious of how that turn was made – how that turn continues to be made? Did some make the turn fully conscious while others did it without knowing how or even why they were doing it? The funny thing is, this all matters to me much more because of the taxi ride, the crumbling four lane highway and the nuclear energy plant in the shadows of the ancient ruins, than the ruins themselves.