This was written about a month ago (pre-FJR)...
I had a fairly stressful day at work and was looking at the likelihood of an equally stressful day ahead as I drove home last night. After kissing my family hello, I went into the bedroom and began systematically putting on my gear. I call it the "Mr. Rogers Effect": any activity that requires changing clothes and/or shoes is one in which it is easier to leave the stresses and minutia of 'regular life' behind. Golf is another example; when you switch to your golf shoes, you are able to leave your work self in the locker and really enjoy the sport.
It was an absolutely beautiful night... somewhat overcast, clear, cool (but not cold)... I could feel my stresses melt away as I engaged the starter and felt the rumble of the engine spring to life. A smooth twist of the throttle and I sped away into the evening.
I had absolutely no goal except to ride. The bike decided that it wanted to cruise through the foothills to the northeast. I obliged.There were moments of speed... a nice 60 MPH sprint up a mountain road, for instance... but I was equally happy going 25 through winding residential streets. The bike and I were one entity seeking the freedom of the road and the quiet solitude of the night.
At some point my internal compass shifted and I automatically gravitated toward home again. I pulled into the driveway, turned off the motor, and sat for a moment in the stillness. Words could not express the joy and peace that riding has brought to me. With a much lighter heart, I backed the bike into the garage and went in to the warmth of my home and family.