I have been so focused on the politics of Trump these days that I completely missed that Robert M. Pirsig had passed a few days ago. That is sad in many ways. First of all, why spend so much time on the shit show of the Trump administration, when I could be spending time with family and friends. Doing meaningful things for myself and others. Reading new books, or finishing books that I have already started like ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ . That’s what I should be doing.
When I read of his passing, I have to admit I became a bit sad. Sad for a couple of reasons I guess. Sad for his family and friends. Sad because I honestly have not committed myself to completing literary classic ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ and now the author is gone. Sad because of the story how he lost his son, Chris.
I have attempted to read ‘Zen’ multiple times since college. Honestly, I haven’t been able to get very far. Until recently that is. I am not very philosophical or deep and my head tends to spin when things become a bit complex. When reading, if the language is hard or unfamiliar, it takes time for me to wrap my brain around how and what is being said. The first hundred pages are pretty critical for me. A book needs to be really interesting if it pretty complex. Accept for the motorcycle journey peppered through the novel, I had a hard time following along with Mr. Pirsig. I had to reread many of the paragraphs.
When I finally realized that Pirsig was Phaedrus, and I got a bit further along in the book, (a plane trip to Mexico always helps), I started to understand how the story was laid out, and things became interesting for me. Challenging still, but interesting none the less.
When I look at this photo of Pirsig and his son Chris, I love the pure joy in this boys face. What brought that joy? The motorcycle, the adventure, spending time with his dad? I don’t know but I certainly do appreciate it. Pirsig has a small smile or maybe it’s a grin, but the way his head is down looking at the bars of the motorcycle, the way he is holding on it sure seems like his focus is on the joy of the bike. Amazement is how I read it. Like a kid straddling a new bicycle for the first time. The way that I felt when I road a fat tire bike the first time or the way you feel when you go to the local motorcycle shop and throw a leg over all the shiny new motorcycles. You know what I mean.
So know that Pirsig is gone, it is time for me to get back in to ‘Zen’. I have already been weening myself off the ‘news’ on the I phone, which is allowing me some time to grab a book. I am just finishing up a cool book by Neil Gaiman about Norse Mythology, and then I will put the ‘Zen’ back into the rotation.
If you haven’t read it, I hope you do. Dedicate some time to get into it though, it is heavy, thought provoking stuff. Oh yeah, and it is about a dad and his son taking a motorcycle trip. What more do you want?