How can one travel back in time .. touch the history .. converse with the spirits .. feel their energy .. yet possibly convey to the unknowing the unbelievable, undeniable capabilities of the Soul ..? One can’t .. yet here I am once again making an attempt.
There are but a few who understand .. Old Souls such as I .. and to those, words need not be spoken .. for they too, say it all with a smile. It is for those Souls who have passed that I craft these words .. and raise a glass in honor of their presence .. for they still dance among the living .. and we smile —
The energy .. the spirits of ancient warriors .. they breathe within the walls of castles still … feeding my Soul with the touch of stone .. knowing they hear my heartbeat .. smiling as they understand the depth of my emotion … and that is what surrounds me like a shroud as I explore the real Bohemia .. the ancient world of our ancestors .. and lose myself in “history”. There are few people who truly know me that cannot remember a smile on my face .. no matter how dark my circumstances .. it’s that inner strength we summon to put on the facade of “happiness” when exposed .. but in truth, alone, in the dark .. we cry.
Alan Lightman once said, “the tragedy of this world is that no one is happy .. whether stuck in a time of pain .. or joy”. There is a reason we outgrow fairytales .. let’s face it .. “happily ever after” is a crock, a con, a shell game for the sucker on the street. Unlike fairytales, our lives aren’t determined by some storybook star-crossed destiny. Those are just words .. pretty words .. the equally empty bookends to “once upon a time”. They’re not determined by what we’re told is “meant to be” .. our lives are determined by dumb luck, the actions we take, and the courage we summon at our moments of truth. Unlike fairytales, real life doesn’t come with “the end” and gilded cursive on the very last page. Our stories never end “happily ever after”. For most of us it’s really just the beginning .. as there’s a million “ever afters” in everybody’s lives .. ‘cause every time you think you’ve reached the finish line .. the gun goes off again.
Henry David Thorough said, “things do not change .. we change”, while Marcus Aurelius said, “the universe is change .. our life is what our thoughts make it.” Even the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “there is nothing permanent except change”. Regardless, every day .. every moment .. every nanosecond .. the world changes. Electrons bump into each other and react. People collide and alter each other’s path. Change isn’t easy .. more often, it’s wrenchingly difficult, and maybe that’s a good thing, because it’s change that makes us stronger .. keeps us resilient .. and teaches us to evolve.
Nobody likes letting go. From our earliest moments after birth ‘till we’re six feet under .. our instinct is to grab, grip, cling .. to a finger, a bottle, a best friend, to moments with someone in our past. Sometimes we hold on for dear life .. to the very things that keep us from actually living it .. but that comes with an upside .. it’s the way we feel when we finally let go. The trick, I guess, is to not find the way around the curveballs that life serves up .. but to live with them .. in halfway happy .. an easy alliance .. and to search for new things to cling to .. and when you finally find them .. to hang on just as tight. And around and around we go .. holding on until the time comes to say good-bye .. and like it or not, ready or not .. you have to accept one universal truth .. life is messy .. always .. and for all of us. But a wise man once said, “maybe messy is what you need” .. and I think he might be right.
I said it once before .. we are authors of our own destinies .. pioneers of our lives. And yet, our world is made of patterns .. internal truths that appear and repeat .. over and over across the millennium .. for it is only by standing on the shoulders of the past, that we can truly gaze into the future. There are few things in the world more frightening than the future stretching out ahead of you .. unknowable and unseen. But sometimes, the most frightening future is the one you do know .. the fate you see coming .. and can’t escape.
So where are all these ramblings and contemplations going that constantly fill and crowd the space between my ears as I ride, you ask? Well, at least I didn’t throw a “political” opinion or vent my disdain of anyone or anything in particular .. yet. I’ve simply set us on the same “wavelength” again .. in hopes that you will “feel” those same emotions that are evoked when my energy is within the walls of an ancient castle .. when I touch the stone .. or feel the emotions of those who went before me .. as the captives in the prison camps did in last month’s “adventure”. You can imagine what fear the thoughts of their future brought them .. knowing eminent death may be their next visitor. So for those who were not immediately rounded up and incarcerated .. they hid .. fighting as hard as they could to prolong their misery even a moment more .. for it is our natural instinct to survive .. at all costs.
In the Czech Republic, one of those places they escaped to, and hid from the Germans, were caves in the hills near a little town called Novy Bor. They are now famously known as the Pekelne Doly Biker Caves. Pekelne Doly means “Devil’s Mines”, and this was another one of Lucie’s “surprises” for me as she, I, and four of her best friends took off one evening to go find the caves. By the time we got there it was nearly dark and we ended up parking quite a ways from the trail that led up the hillside. We walked for awhile along the moonlit path beside a small pond .. an absolutely perfect night .. and the closer we got to our destination, the more bikes we found. There was actually a small road we came to .. and realized we should have come in from the other side of the water. It certainly wasn’t paved, yet wide enough to drive vehicles on up to the caves. Once we arrived at the top .. it was obvious why a roadway was imperative, and probably once used by miners.
There was an outside stage near the cave entrance at the base of a straight up flat rock wall, probably 75 feet or higher .. and at the ridge all across the very top is where fireworks showers cascaded down the rocks .. falling directly behind the stage and all around the bands as they performed. The effect was sensational! I think you’ll agree the video clip of Rammstein is quite appropriate for men toiling away in the mines, and very creative. They were very well known and came from Berlin, Germany.
There were two other incredible headliner groups that night, starting with Night Wish, a famous symphonic metal band from Kitee, Finland, who also played outside. The third well-known band, Teta, played deep within the caves, while other local bands also performed along the tunnels. I don’t remember their names. But do check out Teta at http://bandzone.cz/teta, and at least listen to the first song listed, Sila Slov. Lucie has great respect for their lead singer, Helena Kubelková, who’s been recording and performing since 1997. Her voice sounds so much like Lucie it’s amazing!
The surprise I’d yet to see came as we walked into the caves, and I was literally blown away! These caves are enormous, and the motorcyclists ride directly into the caves where they park, eat, drink, sleep .. and often spend the night and entertain themselves with various other forms of recreation. There was even a live, nude lesbian performance on one stage area just to keep the evening “interesting”. Gotta love that European culture .. not hung up on any nudity or sexual issues at all. They welcome “freedom of expression”.
Further back into the caves were the other stages where the bands performed. What was interesting was that even though the sound within those caves was incredible .. once you walked from one live band to the next, you couldn’t hear any interference from the sound of the other bands at all .. it was gone entirely. And the lighting within the caves made it even more incredible. Green, red, yellow .. all lighting the areas where couches, lounge chairs, coffee tables .. even mattresses at several locations where people just crashed for the night, right next to their bikes. Czech Republic is a BIG stickler on drinking and driving .. absolutely NOT tolerated at all .. period! Immediate jail time .. no question. So many riders just spend the night.
And then there was the food. Naturally, we were drinking through the early part of the evening .. as there were two separate bars set up where you could order practically anything you wanted. But to prevent overindulgence in the libations on empty stomachs, we went to the little kitchen area where there was also a bar-like front along the cave wall. I’d seen people walking around munching on what looked to me like a round fried tenderloin .. and I hadn’t had one of those in a long time. So I simply told the counter person “I’ll have one of those too” .. pointing to the one he had just rung up for the last customer. Sure, it was hot .. but I was hungry and I had to bite into it right away. Suddenly, “heaven” was in my mouth as I tasted a round, flat slab of fried white cheese! Don’t know what kind of cheese .. but it was better than anything I’d imagined. Now, I was hooked on that delicacy the rest of my time in Europe .. and I don’t regret it one bit! Actually, I didn’t gain a single pound .. I did a LOT of walking, dancing .. and those “various other forms of recreation” …
The pure “energy” within those caves was as thick as molasses .. and something strange that happened to me that evening is definitely worth noting .. you can be the judge as to how “mystifying” it may be to you. You all know my bike is named Bosco, but what you don’t know yet is that I named him after my first all-black, pure-blooded, German Shepherd, whose father was a National Guard Dog Champion, Westhaven’s Victor. My boy was Westhaven’s Victor’s Bosco .. and we just called him “Bosco”. He was tragically killed, but his “energy” is always with me .. and I still believe he’s watching over me to his day .. protecting me wherever I go. (Maybe that has something to do with my surviving seven major bike wrecks too .. ya think?)
But that night in the caves, I turned around and standing right next to me was a huge German Shepherd .. touching my leg and was as comfortable as he could be. He relished in the loving I immediately gave him behind his ears. My friends all wondered “where did he come from?” .. he seemed to appear out of “nowhere” and only stood by me for a short while. The next thing I knew he had disappeared .. completely. I actually looked for him the rest of the evening .. even outside by the huge bonfire in front of the outdoor stage .. not a single dog in sight. Where he came from or where he went I’ll never know .. but I’m going with my feeling that it was Bosco’s energy manifested right there beside me .. letting me know that he was still my protector .. and he felt the pure happiness within my very Soul for what I was experiencing that night. You think what you want.
That entire night instilled such a feeling of calm within me .. while simultaneously, I was charged with the high-energy of the electrifying music and the euphoria that permeated that crowd of bikers .. the brotherhood of complete strangers .. unspoken and undefined camaraderie .. there was never a need to question it .. it just was … That “bond” probably had the same intensity as the connection among the huddled, frightened masses who had inhabited those hallowed cavern walls while hiding from the Germans .. and fearing their impending future. Living for the moment .. understanding that there are NO guarantees of any tomorrow. And that very fact is what we must continually remember and stay cognizant of each and every time we straddle our Iron Horse .. a simple fact of reality.
Don Miguel Ruiz wrote, “What is truth is real. What is not truth is not real. It’s an illusion, but it looks real. Love is real. It’s the ultimate expression of Life.”
So what I will always give you is truth .. and all my Love. It’s all I know .. and the only way I’ve learned to actually live my life to the fullest .. happy or not. Sacred word .. Honor of Life .. a man’s gift to Humanity .. when many times there is none …
Until next time .. ride smart .. ride safe
and the Adventure continues …