I hit my head on a cupboard door and at first it hurt and I felt funny, but now I feel giddy. I don’t know what this means, but it does seem significant.
Also, over the last few months I’ve been working my way through Middlemarch (George Eliot) and enjoying the slow reading process. It’s weird for me, because usually I’m a plow-through, addict type reader, but this might be a sign of maturation or decreased attention span. Hard to say really. Though I never used to be able to write things in my head before and now I can do haiku if I’m running without music, so I prefer to think of these developments as maturation.
New topic: the post below this one includes photos taken during a 12-hour drive that GT and I embarked upon last Monday in hopes of hitting all major Scottish tourist centers on the mainland in a single day. While I’m not sure that we were entirely successful, we did see a lot. Places where we stopped and walked included:
the Falkirk Wheel (weirdest non-invention piece of construction on the planet — it’s just a big non-useable lock to model a historic lock that actually didn’t exist between canals in that area — it was complete in 2002 — who knows what anyone was thinking),
Stirling Castle (cool, but we didn’t pay the 13 pounds to go in, so I don’t know much about that),
Loch Lomond & the Trossachs (fantastic — see pictures of the swan in the previous post),
a B&B somewhere between Loch Lomond and Loch Ness (we didn’t make it to Loch Ness because we would probably have died somewhere along the winding roads of the Scottish highlands — totally not a plus).
During the course of this trip I discovered that I can talk a lot and pretty much without major pauses over a twelve-hour period. I also realized that I am going to miss GT so much that it’s a little hard to contemplate without triggering the telltale throat knot. It’s ok though. He let me take a lot of pictures and this has been a good year. I’m lucky.
Another picture, to illustrate the essence of the ramble:
Ok, last one:
Ask the world to repeat itself once—
if you’re really interested,
if you really want to dance,
if you really want to drive in the dark,
in the black,
Then ask the world to repeat itself
and listen very carefully;
it will tell you why to dance,
it will tell you how to drive in the dark,
in the black,
So ask the world to repeat itself
when you are very much afraid,
when you cannot find your favorite shoes and
when your eyes feel glazed over, droopy,
And the world will repeat itself because you asked so nicely
it will read you its poetry,
it will show you the secrets of the glory of the morning,
the quite of the night, or
smack-dab in the middle of the afternoon,
it will remind you of five-cent kisses,
daisies waving in the breeze,
your best friend;
kissing your hand before he swings into the river.
The world will read to you and remind you of its worries and its feats,
if only you remember to ask it nicely, to repeat itself.
In Montana, everything is far away. Growing up, I was used to driving, used to riding in the backseat with the dog and a book, and used to the winding two-lane highways, the empty four-lane interstates. I expected two- or three-hour drives for soccer games; five-hour drives to see my grandmother in the same state. By the time I was fifteen, I had a driver’s license.
When people say “open road” I think they must be talking about the interstate in Montana. Or Alaska, maybe.
The drive from Missoula to Flathead Lake dips up and down steep climbs and around blind turns on two lanes, with the occasional passing lane to get by slower traffic (semi-trucks, tractors). It’s a drive that takes all of two hours because traffic is always slow and because in late summer, cherries are sold in roadside stands by migrant workers that Montana claims not to have, but does.
I went to a church camp on Flathead Lake. After I turned fifteen, I usually drove there with a friend or two. One year, I drove by myself – although I think it was later because I was a counselor then – and I understood why people feel free and powerful with an accelerator under foot and pavement streaming ahead.
Maybe because I was well-rested, or because I was happy, it was clear that this was ultimate freedom. I ate cherries and sang country music that I didn’t know (my sister always liked country music).
I may have been used to driving, but I was alone in hot summer under a perfectly bright Big Sky. Two hours didn’t feel like enough.
I think it is power, or some sense of independence that lets us love driving this way. We feel free, even when we aren’t.
**This post was inspired by Write on Edge’s weekly prompt with a word limit of 300. For more “open road” inspired work, click here.