4:32am Somewhere near Deschallions-sur-laurent, Canada.

It is still night, but the kind of night that is more deep navy blue than black. Stars are clearly visible, but they are a little less brilliant without the deep black that accompanied them just a few hours earlier. It is cold, and dew has covered the tent and the motorcycle. It is silent. The kind of silent that does not exist at any other time of day. It is prior to the chirping of birds, and the faint background roar of the world awake. A roar that we only know by its’ absence. It is absent.

I turn my gaze from the sky to the tent, and finish breaking camp. As quietly as I can, even though there is no one to disturb. Before putting on my helmet, I pause to take in the silence one more time. To see the sky one more time, and to wonder, if there is any other sentient being in the universe fortunate enough to witness such a moment……

The vocal chords of the exhaust bark into life, and a lumpy idle ensues. The engine and the headlight are audible and visual separations, perhaps violations, of what came before. I trundle out of the woods on the edge of the St Lawrence river, and follow the gravel road back out to the country road. The little town is dark and motionless. I am glad for heated gloves, as it is cold once underway. The countryside is peaceful, the farms endless, and there is little sign of life visible in the darkness. The sky and the land are joined. Miles later I reach the highway, and life draws your attention away from the surroundings. The bright lights of a gas station, the many road signs, the sporadic roar of the highway traffic.

I join the highway and head off into nothingness. In Canada, it does not take long to be in the middle of nowhere. The lights fade, the traffic diminishes, and the sky returns to its’ natural hue. The bike hums along as only a horizontally opposed twin can. Strong, unwavering, and unrefined. It seems to share a kinship with the motionless tractors, and even with the land. Harmonic vibrations. Inside the helmet, I can hear my thoughts clearly.

The sky was in transformation. Only a few stars were visible now, and the sky faded into a pale blue to the east. A few wispy clouds were visible on the eastern horizon. A light was on in a barn, cows were up and grazing, a few birds were in flight. A tractor rolled down the road toward me, and the driver waved. The sun came up as if in a giant slow moving elevator. It bathed the farms in a warm glow and illuminated the steam rising from the warm bodies of cows. Birds flitted about in larger numbers now, and cars dotted the back roads I was on. The sun made visible that which was formerly hidden. Smoke rose from chimneys, a rabbit scurried off into a thicket, telephone poles appeared, houses and barns dotted the landscape. The world was awake.

I caught the scent of breakfast, and pulled into a small cafe with smoke from two chimneys. I pulled off my helmet, and smiled at the contrast. A warm sun hit my face, and sound was everywhere. I turned toward the entrance of the cafe still smiling. It was 7:00am, and it was already a great day….

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