Calling Riding Motorcycles “Wind Therapy” and Needless Guilt for Enjoying Ourselves

Each time I read or hear people refer to riding a motorcycle as “wind therapy” I roll my eyes. Sure, somewhat for the unforgivable corniness (and I’ve got plenty of dad jokes), but it’s more than that.

The thing I find irritating is that we have to brand something as “therapy” in order to legitimize enjoying it. We’re so caught up in both branding and preposterous guilt for enjoying the moments of our lives spent not working that we have justify the simple act of riding a motorcycle as “therapy.” It reminds me of the idea of food as medicine. Sure, some foods have a healing component, but are we really so far from simply enjoying a dish for its own sake that we have to call it medicine to legitimize its existence on our plates?

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Pretty sunrise earlier this week. I’m not going to call it a therapy rise.

I think having so much close technological access to working all the time plays into this. The moments when we’re not on our devices doing some sort of work, when our eyes are watching the curving road, hands busy throttling and braking, feet shifting and leaning, we’re too otherwise absorbed to possibly be working. And for this respite from work, to be in our own heads with our own thoughts, to be providing no financial benefit to anyone (except to the gas and tire and motorcycle companies…) we have to explain away our own enjoyment as “wind therapy.”

In the Midwest, two things we do a lot of is working and apologizing. Beginning a sentence with, “Oh, I’m sorry…” is commonplace. Our culture teaches us to be life-long martyrs for our work and therefore we must apologize for the moments when we’re not working. Calling it therapy is half apology and half hail mary claim that it’s necessary for our health. Nearly every act a person engages in that is enjoyable and not somehow detrimental is therapeutic. We don’t need to brand having a life outside of work as therapy. 

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I enjoy pretty mountain bike trails and don’t need to justify it. Neither should you.

I enjoy skimming the surface in a canoe, ice skating in lieu of cross country ski snow, riding motorcycles and mountain bikes – plenty of activities. Being active is good for my body and brain and soul and I don’t think that makes me unique. I enjoy plenty of sitting still activities too, like writing and reading and sitting in my chair in the dark and thinking, sometimes with jazz on the record player. Bowhunting will always be sitting in the woods listening to birds and hoping to spot a deer. I enjoy those acts simply for being alive and capable enough to do them. Sure, sitting in the woods with your own thoughts can have a healing effect. But I’m not going to start calling the moments I’m simply enjoying my time being alive “therapy.” I just call that having my own life and not being at work all the time – for which none of us should need the justification of a brand or a hashtag or an apology.

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Green Moss and Lichen on the Last Day of Fall

I went out for a little jaunt to take some pictures of the vibrant, rain glistening greens of lichen and moss on the last day of fall at Riveredge Nature Center. Here are my favorites from my brief walk. Click the arrow on the right side of the image to see more.

Visitor to the Midwest: A Heard Poem

Here is this little overheard gem. Every once in awhile strangers still have conversations in bars without phones between their faces. When they do, you can overhear a gem or two. This was a visitor from L.A. making a stop in Milwaukee from California. Click the arrows to the right to read the next line. Viva Midwest. Flyover and Friendly.

Ice Racing Motorcycles on the McKinley Marina in Milwaukee

I think us Midwesterners generally develop an appreciation for the ephemeral. Otherwise we develop winter depression or move. Here are a few friends of mine racing motorcycles on studded tires on the frozen McKinley Marina in downtown Milwaukee. On the other side of the breakwater people are ice fishing. We’ve all got our seasonal loves. Unless we have a February heatwave, I expect the ice should be solid for Slippery Sunday during the weekend of Mama Tried Motorcycle Show (if that’s where they decide the ice racing will take place).

Title Sketches for Beavers Documentary

I’m working on a documentary about beavers returning to the Milwaukee River. Here are a few preliminary sketches for the title art. Any graphic or text design opinions/suggestions/critique are welcome!

Beavers in the Milwaukee River Documentary

Here is a little teaser footage I shot this morning for a project I’m working on. Beavers have gradually returned to the Milwaukee River and this rehabilitated animal was released in the river this morning. By all accounts, Chip seems to be doing very well in her new natural river island habitat.

 

Fall Conservation Panorama

 

Our Fall Conservation issue has arrived. This one took a lot of work, it was a bit of our elephant to deal with. How do you tell a story that is actively changing, and one which your whole organization is based upon? Read to learn about the Schlitz Audubon Conservation Plan, raptors and how humans threaten their survival, and how you can begin to teach young children aspects of conservation.