Road Trips

The heat suffocates, wraps around me like a greasy outer layer, plastering my thin summer clothing to the curves and contours of my body…

Waves rushing in from the solar tides are ebbing and flowing on the pavement in the distance, and my eyes get sea sick trying to sail on them…

The engine mumbles and grumbles to itself on a ceaseless march across yet another dry hot stretch of featureless grassy hills. Pale and brittle this grass, like the carcass of an insect, rustling in the breeze by the roadside…

A buffeting of wind through an open window, a hot dashboard with a half melted chocolate, blues on the stereo that roll away like the landscape, and bare toes that make dusty prints on the glass…

Collecting bugs on the grill and cleaning them off the windshield. Fighting to keep them out of the food, out of the car, and stop them from sucking your blood while you sleep. They wine, they fly, they crawl, swim, jump and creep into any unprotected areas…

Sunset brings a blessed relief from the punishing atmosphere. Cool breezes linger on the sweaty flesh and soothe the discomforts of travel. Moonlight softens the harsh qualities in the passing view and lends a romantic beauty to an otherwise monotonous stretch of highway…

Day birds flutter and fuss about barbed wire fence lines, and night birds call softly to the shadows…

Moon follows the sun, clouds race across the blistering sky, and seeds of summer are carried on the winds of change. Time blurs into a succession of coffee cups, cigarettes, rolling papers, gas stations, introductions, goodbyes, soda cans, layers of lotion, munchies, laughter, phone emergencies, odd encounters, spiffy hats, peacock feathers, road signs, CD changes and fights over who has the lighter; all of it seen through a haze of heat and sleep deprivation…

 

Memories sparkling behind my closed eye lids like a scattering of constellations, callouses on my toes and a tan on my skin being the only evidence of my travels. Stumbling into bed with a grateful sigh and a reeling head like someone recovering from a binge of gargantuan proportions…

Facing the next afternoon when I eventually emerge from the caccoon, only to find I am floating in a limbo of my extended absence with a thousand things to accomplish: Call the employers, rake the yard, clean the house, hang with the dog, collect the mountain of mail, trim the driveway, do the laundry and find a place for all the pebbles I collected along the way…

Realizing I will do none of these things, I stand there in the middle of my bedroom, at the epicenter of solitude, at the confluence of past and present, caught in a flood of thought and perception as my mind begins to really examine the impressions that passed by too quickly for my concentration. The emotions and epiphanies from my three weeks of gazing on new horizons. Struck dumb and stumbling by a head full of images careening around too quickly to pin to my page, I reach desperately for a pot of coffee…

Perhaps a slow cup on the porch where the ground is in no hurry to go anywhere, and sanity may settle back into my skull. For now my imagination is still riding the rippling freeways, merging and weaving on the endless asphalt serpent, diggin’ on BB King while the miles roll away…

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