“There once was a time”, a phrase which has invaded my lexicon more and more in recent years, seems to be increasingly appropriate as a conversation starter at this point in my life. As I advance in years, for me at least, it is unavoidable to reflect on my mis-spent youth and all the lost opportunities to use my talents and energy in more meaningful ways other than just frolicking about and having a ball on my mostly erratic journey through life. This is one of those times when I absolutely must call upon “The Phrase” once again.

There once was a time when I assessed life’s challenges much differently than I do today. Many years ago I heard a story which, although a bit risque’, graphically illustrated the ways in which we approach a challenge with the exuberance of youth and later on girded with the wisdom gained of life’s experience and a more mature point of view. It seems there were two large bulls standing high upon a hill surveying a large pasture filled with fertile cows. One was a large mature bull whose reign over the herd had spanned many years, the other was a young strapping bovine, full of…well, you know…the usual stuff that young strapping bovines are full of, who was understandably anxious to ascend to the throne when it came time for the elder to retire. The young bull remarked excitedly to the older bull “Let’s RUN down there and breed one of those heifers”! To which the wise old bull replied, “Son, let’s WALK down there and breed em’ all”……. Wisdom, when applied, is truly a wonderful thing.

There is a monumental challenge which I have been kicking back into the deepest, darkest corners of my mind each time it attempts to come crawling out into the light of day, simply because my wiser side knows that it is fraught with futility and is pitted against one of the strongest human forces in the universe……complacency. All of that notwithstanding, I am going to accept it anyway. After all, what’s a little futility among friends?

We “Human Beans” love to talk about being “Pro-active”, especially when something catastrophic happens, such as a rickety old bridge that EVERYONE knows should have been torn down and replace years ago, finally gives up and collapses tragically costing the lives of friends and family of some of those folks who knew the bridge should have been replaced “years ago”. Why do these things happen when we know in our hearts and minds that they are going to happen and tear our and others lives apart? Could it be that, by nature, we are experts at “kicking the can down the road”? Our U.S. Congress is a shining example of this truth. We always seem to find something else that must be done before we tackle that huge, expensive task that we know MUST be done but somehow rarely gets done. Truth is, we are pretty much “knee jerk”, reactive bunch. Hence the source of my futility….complacency.

However, I do have a secret weapon. I enjoy the privilege of being a member of one of the most unique communities in the world. I am a motorcycle rider, and have been most of my life. I see the bulk of the riders that I have met over the years as Good, Courageous, Generous and Adventuresome people who stare death in the face every time they throw a leg over and go for a ride. I believe they do it because they prefer to follow their passion and live their lives rather than watch life pass them by. Motorcycle riders are also do’ers. It is going to take a LOT of Do’ers to overcome our “Challenge”, and I believe you are up to it. “The Challenge” is coming in my next post. Stay tuned.

Mel Raymond

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