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BACKSEAT RIDER: Peace among the ponies


Tranquility can be found in the company you keep

Driver Mark laid down in the grassy pasture. 

The ponies watched intently as Driver Fabien carefully placed the large brass bowl on his ribcage.

The sun shone overhead, the green grass carpet was dotted with daisies. A breeze rustled the leaves on the trees bordering the large clearing.

DF struck the bowl with a mallet tipped with a large ball of red felt.  

A low F note rang out. 

Sitting nearby, I found myself letting out a breath and relaxing.

The bowl resonated at a frequency to align with one of the seven chakras in the human body, said DF. It’s part of how he, a Canadian veteran, copes with the memories of his work in Bosnia.

Earlier that Sunday morning, we set out in the fresh summer air. 

Once across the Confederation Bridge, we turned off the main highway and into the hidden gem of Atlantic Canada — the parts of New Brunswick that aren’t the sides of the highway.

We took the coastal route through Murray Beach. It was at “peak scenic.” The roads were in good shape, perfect for smooth cruising through the dips and curves of the N.B. countryside. 

Many of the first inhabitants were farmers and fishers and the landscape supports the same livelihoods now. 

Small farms and farmers were engaged in their seasonal work, cattle were grazing, calves alongside. Hay was neatly raked into fragrant windrows, or rolled up into bales.

Much of the new settlements are vacation properties now, clearings with a cottage and campers arranged to share the magnificent views of Northumberland Strait. 

As we approached the villages and towns, homes got newer. Many had a gaggle of cars crowded into the driveways — family, over for a Sunday afternoon or a visit home.

DF lives on one of the back roads of N.B. and when we at last rolled into the yard, he was out. The garage door was open though, so we made ourselves at home in some lawn chairs, had a snack and waited.

He’s that kind of friend. 

When DF showed the guys caught up, checking in on how the other had fared over the winter, since DM hadn’t been over since last bike season, in October. 

Then we went to visit the ponies.

With the humans sitting, we were all eye-to-eye, and the ponies were keen to snuffle at DM’s hands and legs as the bowl rang out. 

Eventually, he sat up, looking relaxed and surprised. 

Then it was my turn. 

I lay back and DF set the bowl just below my ribcage. 

The note resonated into my belly, tickling at first, then spreading more gently as I relaxed under the sun. The ponies had moved on and I could hear them grazing.

The bowl was on my stomach, but I could feel the tension in my shoulders seep away. 

When the magic was done, I sat up, refreshed.

None of us were in a hurry to end the visit, but home and the cats were waiting and after a wonderful chat, we donned our helmets and hit the road. 

We stuck to more of the shore roads on the way home, passing through Cap-Pele — home of the Mad Squirrel — but that’s a story for another time.

The views were even more stunning in the late afternoon and we crossed the bridge, side by side, with our shadow.

Happy riding.


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