Friday, December 15, 2017

Going to the DMV means...

You know it hasn't been a stellar week if going to the DMV is the highlight. But wait, maybe it is. Because this is the first time I have lived in one place long enough to renew my driver's license!

As a seasonal worker, I kept the license from my home state for years, so I guess that could count. But it didn't, not really, because I was living in Nevada/Washington/New Mexico/Idaho/California; the venue changed with the seasons. Since then I've had licenses from three states, but I never stayed there long enough to have to renew. In fact, I never wanted to stay in one place that long. The horror! Wasn't  it better to keep on the move, seeing new places? I thought this way for years.

I recently went back to one of my favorite places for a book signing--the Sawtooth Mountains. I would have stayed here forever if there had been a long term job here.
Once, as I left yet another place, one of the maintenance guys said, "I hope you find what you're looking for." At the time, twenty-two and a long road ahead, I thought he was just envious. Stuck in a small town, a town he had always lived in, what could he know of the possibilities of the open road? Now, from the vantage of many more years lived, I realize I was looking for something, something intangible, something I'm still not sure I've found. But maybe I have found good enough.

I went for a run a couple of days ago. My running has been cut way back as I work on the strengthening exercises that are supposed to help my knees and hopefully address the clunking I feel in one of them. But I needed to run. I'd just run a short distance, I thought. But I didn't feel like it, not very much. We have been encased in a thick, freezing fog that isn't much fun to be out in. You have to slip and slide through snow. I sighed and donned my spikes. It's actually better for me to run on flatter surfaces and we have few of those. The small park it would be.

At the last minute I decided to take my camera. I don't usually run with one, because you know, I run. But daylight was fading and I thought I could endure the monotony of retracing my steps over the same miles by taking some pictures. Haphazardly I aimed my point and shoot camera at some flocked trees. Days later when I looked at the pictures I saw that they captured what I didn't see: a strange and beautiful world of darkness and fog. I kind of like them.

I think this looks like a painting...

Getting pretty dark....
I couldn't stay long: I didn't have a headlamp and the last part of the run is on the road. As I headed down the last switchback, I passed Joe with his mutt, headed back in. Joe pushes the darkness, always, and I laughed to myself because I know that. There's all sorts of things you learn, living in one place for a long time. Like, just maybe, this is as good as it gets.

I don't regret my seasonal migrations, even as I see more settled friends be able to retire at a young age, even as I realize far-flung friends aren't really friends anymore, casualties of distance. Moving every six months for eleven years was the best gift of adventure. I wouldn't want to be in that life anymore, but I'm glad I had it. Those were my glory days, but I don't mean that everything is downhill from now on. Just different. 

By the way, I approached the DMV with fear and loathing. I recalled when I had to go in Alaska to get a new state license. It took forever, and the DMV lady was famous for her efficiency and lack of smiling (we used to try to get her to smile. It never worked). More than one person slunk away near tears after being chastised for not having the right forms. Here, though, I was in and out in about ten minutes, with a nice picture! I can live with that for the next several years.


  1. Glad all went smoothly at the DMV. I love your 'painting pic'.

    1. Totally by accident and with lack of skill. But I like it...

  2. I am glad you got a pretty picture. I had to renew this year and the picture is not nearly so nice as the last picture I had which was apparently so good that the ladies at the bank commented on it every time I came in, about what an amazingly beautiful driver's license photo I had. Oh well.
    I seem to uproot a lot as well though not so much as you did in your seasonal days. I seem to circle around the place called home just trying to get closer and closer.

  3. The DMV lady commented that this one was much better than the last one! I like that analogy of circling to get close to home. You are getting there!

  4. You did get some nice photos from your foggy run. When I'm out on one of my usual running routes, I don't often carry a camera either. Today I was kicking myself because I saw such a nice sunset from Green Mountain and I didn't even have my phone with me. Still, would I have enjoyed the scene as much while fumbling with a camera? Probably not.

    Back in 2003, while bike-touring from SLC to New York, we met a man in Kentucky whose accent was so thick we could barely understand him. He asked where we started riding that morning. When we mentioned a town that was about 40 miles away, he was astonished. He couldn't believe we had ridden pedal bikes such a distance. Although he knew of the town, he'd never been there himself. In fact, except for one high school trip on a bus to Memphis, he'd never traveled farther than about 25 miles from this farm. *In his whole life.* I was so amazed by that. "You don't want to travel?" I asked. "Nope," he replied. "Don't have much interest."

    All kinds of people live in the world. It is fascinating.

    1. I've met people like that. Most often from the South actually. Some international travelers I know probably look at me that way when I say there aren't a lot of countries I'm all that interested in going to. But a 25 mile radius is pretty small!


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