In the early evening I drive far north to the small town of Canaan to pick up a pair of used tires for the truck. It’s a long drive, pretty much as far as one can travel in a northerly direction from our home and not end up in another country. The evening is stupendously beautiful, the air silky soft and warm, the landscape so lushly green it feels almost as if the color itself could bear my weight. I turn onto a road I’ve never driven before, a long, winding ribbon of pavement that passes lakes and moose swamps and mobile homes and forests so thick I get a sense of foreboding. There are long stretches unmarred by human habitation, then the remnants of old farms, then a village too small to sustain even a gas pump. For many miles, I follow a man on a Harley, one of those models that places your feet way out in front of your body, so that it basically looks like you’re floating down the road in a La-Z-Boy. I’ve got the windows to the car wide open and I can hear the rat-a-tat thudding of the Harley’s engine. I could get a motorcycle, I think. I could ride for miles with my feet in front of me. I could lean into the corners just the way he’s leaning into them. It must feel so good.
I buy the tires from a very nice man with a lot of tattoos, then I turn back and drive the same route home. I’m pleased with my purchase. I’m pleased to be driving in the slow-fading light, past the done-in farms and the small villages, through the forests so thick I get a sense of foreboding. I’ve still got my windows down, and the air is rushing in, and I noticed that my feet, while maybe not quite as far in front of my body as the feet of the man on the Harley were in front of his body, are actually pretty far out there. I tilt the seat back just a bit, and I let my body lean into the next corner, and then the one after that, and you know what? I was right: It does feel good.