My first year of college was an eye opening experience for a kid who grew up in Maine.  One thing I experimented on were books, looking for something beyond what the tiny school and public libraries of my hometown offered.  I had begun my search for enlightenment and though I never went in search of Shambala I did read a book by Robert Pirsig that set me on a path.  It was called “” and was published in 1974.   Like a lot of other hippie pseudo theological books it made me consider everything I was doing and my relation to the universe.  At eighteen everything was so deep, or at least I imagined it was.

I made that book a yearly read, like “Ulysses“, “Moby Dick” and “Trout Fishing In America“.  Though as I aged and had a child, a son like the books main character I realized more and more how much I had progressed and grown.  The book held weight at eighteen but at thirty four the message was much more distant and the main character less tolerable.

Robert Pirsig would go on to write one other book, but never experienced the success he had achieved with “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’.   On April 24th he passed away at the age of 88.  His death reminded me of the importance of that book to me at a vulnerable time in my life.  Like many teenagers who are discovering the book even today it was a gateway to discovering other writers like Richard Brautigan who too melded eastern philosophy with modern hippie thought.  His presence will be missed, but Pirsig and his legacy will live on and inspire generations to come.  May you continue your journey to enlightenment in the heavens on your motorcycle.

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