Saturday, November 12, 2011

Goin' Where the Climate Suits My Clothes

For years, I went down the road feeling bad. Every six months I drove solo across the country, down the blue highways that connected to the soulless interstates, the truck stops, the rest stops, one hundred more miles, more. Cheap motels with flashing signs, the enormity of Texas, small towns with lights like jewels glowing far away on a distant horizon. I don't remember how many times I drove across the country in a small Chevette, only that I did it, the rubber hum of the road, a heartbeat, a song.

Always there was a knot inside my heart because always I was leaving someone behind. It  could have been a friend who would sit with me on  a porch beside an inland sea, watching a luna moth, it could have been a faithless smokejumper who loved fire more than he loved me. It didn't matter: it all felt the same, the leaving.

I always left, though. There was something comforting about those road trips, that transition time between the person I was and the person I would be. A clock ticked in my head: Must see it all. Must see it all.

That clock is mostly silent now. I don't want to leave people behind anymore. I have no desire to pour myself into a car anymore and drive alone across the country. I know I can't see it all. Instead, I want to see a lot of  a few places, to really know them down to the core.

I often wonder about the ones I left behind. They seemed so secure in their lives, rooted trees, tied to a piece of land in the way I never thought I could be. Now I am one of them. I heard about two people I know last night who are pulling up stakes and moving to Portland. How can they leave? I wondered. Then I had to laugh. I have come a long way down that road.

I'm heading to the southwest for two weeks. This time I'll have someone with me. This time we can stop, dawdle, soak in the hot springs. This time I'm coming back.

 There was a lot I loved about the road: the delicious uncertainty of a bend, the unknown possibility. Sometimes I can admit that being anchored feels like it: a boat swinging on a chain.  I want it both ways. That's why I keep traveling, in short bursts now, returning to a known shore.


  1. Is that a photo of the long lost Mustard Seed? Loved your post...isn't it wonderful to come to different times in our lives that fit us now? Have a wonderful time movin' on down the road to the SW with the special one.

  2. A thought flashed through my mind and it scared me. Am I getting old? It used to be so easy to move. It was exciting to move. Now... what if that unwillingness on my part to make a change ties me to a rocking chair on some porch where I will spend the rest of my years watching the life go by?
    You got me thinking there, girl...

  3. BTW, I love the idea of you spying on my teen doing JMT. ;-)

  4. I think I'm smack in the middle of the "must see it all" phase. Moving isn't fun though, I totally agree. If you ever find yourself near Eureka on your adventures, let me know. I'll try to kick your butt on a gorgeous trail run :)


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