Saturday, May 8, 2010

back on the road.

The engine hums like a shower head. It quivers beneath you.

This is your steed.

You head north again. You're reverse-migrating. You're a water dog looking for a river. The sky is your compass and the stars are your atlas and you don't belong standing still.

You shut off the phone and leave it in the trunk. No one that would call would have as soothing a lilt as the rumble strips beneath your tire treads. Your wheels whirl in circle after circle after circle and you keep on your way.

There's a snowstorm tonight. It's deja vu. You haven't driven in a flurry like this since that night where everything changed. You were going north then, too, and maybe you'll end up heading to the same place. Maybe you'll find your feet planted where you felt like they were welcome, like they had been invited to take root in her soil-colored eyes.

But that doesn't matter now. Spilt milk. Skin off your back. Fat lady sang.

The reality of the situation has been made clear.

You drive on.

You hit the Idaho border and the signs remind you to not litter. You look around your tattered car and see nothing you could do without, anyway. You're not a high-risk case.

But you're leaving something in your wake, aren't you. You're leaving a trail, a jetstream indicating your path. Are you trying to get someone to follow you? Are you not wanting this flight to be a solo one? What is it that you're looking for out here? What are you running from? Or to?

You're not running, though. You're driving. Because you're a man of efficiency and dedication and romance and honesty and truth and passing mile markers, aren't you. And you're going to keep on going until you run out of gas because that's the kind of man you are.

And while others may read or write or sing or cry or weep and wail on your doorstep while you're away, those passions will fall on inanimate objects and deaf ears because you have to move on. Don't you? Isn't that what you're doing? You're physically leaving behind everything that you want to mentally distance yourself from?

Oh. I see.

I respect your efforts.

You drive on.

You refill your gas tank in Rainbow Road, ID. Life imitates Mario Kart, I guess. You hide in the restroom for twenty minutes, falling to your knees in prayer.

Lord, you ask, give me a destination. Give me something to drive toward. Point me in a direction. Show me where I am to go.

North, He says. The way of the Monarch Butterfly. An east/west dichotomy is false. You're still the same distance from the equator. And you've let things equate for far too long, He says.

The Lord, as He often does, points north.

You obey.

You pay for a granola bar with jangling coins and receive a receipt and a nasty glare from the clerk, who looks as though she gave up on life a long time ago, resigning herself to a life of loneliness and settling and self-inflicted solitude when someone was begging to just be let in.

You drive on.

There's an honest-to-God tumbleweed on your right. It salutes you with a brief pause in its journey. They're respectful beasts, the tumbleweeds, more animal than dried-up plant carcass. They're you, really: they go where the wind takes them. And the wind goes north today.

You pass a Winnebago on the two-lane highway. They're trailing a small SUV on a trailer behind them. You count the caravan's wheels and lose track at ten.

You have four. That's all you need.

As you speed by on their left, a young girl in the back of the RV smiles and waves. You smile back. She gives the honk-your-horn signal. You comply. You've given her a Christmas morning grin and she gives you enough brightness to keep going. The driver of the RV pulls his middle finger from his nose long enough to flip you off as you pass.

He is simply jealous of your freedom. Of your velocity.

Let him be. He is no concern of yours.

A new water bottle is opened as you drive with your knees. It hits your tongue like Niagara and clears your palette. You taste nothing. Yours is a fresh beginning. You harness your other four senses and you feel the sight of the aromatic sounds that the road is pouring straight into your touch sight smell hearing and it all comes together. You feel like you have closed your eyes and you sense the road beneath you. You have joined it. The road is your arms and your legs and you break into a sprint.

You think of setting suns and rising tides and trips to nowhere and sweet goodnights and desperate confessions and your own reactions to wept tears and unanswered phone calls and dismissed rebuttals.

And on this road, you walk tall.

Let others stumble and crawl their way to their own joy. Let them trip over unseen obstacles in the dark. Let your own clarity of heart be your nightlight. Let it be what gives you stronger step and deeper meaning.

Let others be satisfied. Let others be content. Let others smile at themselves in the mirror every morning.

You're in for more.

You drive on.

Your rearview mirror catches the sunshine and underhands it back to your eyes.

Use your mirror. Use it to never forget what you are driving from. And never stop hoping that it'll drive fast enough to catch up to you.


Caitie said...

I think I have a new favorite. Beautiful.

Joanna Brimhall said...

this is a fire that is the perfect temperature of passionate. I really like this. It makes my heart smile.