There are Many Signs
Signs to tell you that things are coming up, things are to be anticipated and prepared for. And sometimes, no matter how many signs you see, you are caught unawares when you turn the corner and are hit with the sudden end of the road, the fork you weren’t expecting and your GPS hasn’t recalculated you through.
And because I like to imagine myself a wanderer, I spend a lot of time thinking about roads, about traveling. About how so many roads are the same and yet there are always little differences depending on landscape, environment, population. About how the road can change people, can bring people together, can separate them. And because I like to imagine myself a storyteller, I like to think of the metaphor of roads, the journey of them, the destination of them. Also, because I like to imagine myself a literary fiction writer, I like to take a metaphor as far as I can, stretch it until it no longer even remotely resembles what it started out being and leave you with more questions than answers. Ah, literary fiction writers are the WORST.
Anyway, back to this metaphor.
I like to drive. I’d drive everywhere if I had the time. I like discovering things I wouldn’t be able to in the air, on a train. I like making unexpected stops at the world’s largest this and world’s smallest that. I like getting off the freeway and getting lost looking for grub or a place to stay the night. I like planning for epic adventures with many scheduled stops as much as I like the random Sunday drive to unknown destinations.
But there comes a time in every trip–the seventh hour in a eight hour drive; the second day of a three day trip–that I always forget to prepare for, that I always am shocked by as if it has never happened before. That time where I just want to pull over, get out of the car and never get back in again. That time where I am just done. Done with the road, with the people on it (especially the people on it) and done with seeing and observing, done with just being. The time where I want to be home in my comfort zone, wrapped up in the familiar and the alone. That time where I am just weary.
So very road weary.
And in the midst of that, there is weather. For every sunny, cloudless day, for every rainbow at the end of a storm, there is oppressive heat that no breeze can lighten, freak downpours that have you hiding under a overpass until you can once again see your hand in front of your face, blizzards that slide you off the road and into a ditch. There is dust. wind and golf ball sized hail. On the best of days, I don’t mind the weather, the swoosh-swoosh of the wiper blades in the rain, the beam of the headlights in a fog. On normal days, I find comfort in the close and quiet, the atmosphere and rhythm, the little bit of fear of the unknown.
On the road weary days though, the weather is there to taunt me, to either lull me, to reflect my mood or bring my dark thoughts to the forefront. They make me want to hide until they pass, not under a bridge where I can still play witness, but in the dark quiet of a tunnel.
Now, I know that tunnels are dark and therefore scary. You never know what hides and lurks in a tunnel, never know where the turns and bad road lies. But, when the storm is screaming at you, beating you down and when the road of life is wearing on you, sometimes, what you need is just a quiet, dry place to just be, and it doesn’t matter the things that lurk in the dark places; sometimes the road is so bad that the dark places are welcome.
The tunnel reminds you that all things pass. The tunnel only lasts so long and then you are out and maybe the storm has passed, but if it hasn’t, the tunnel reminds you that it will. It reminds you that the trip will end, that you will get through it an be home again, be back with what is normal and ordinary when all you really want is the mundane of everyday life again.
So, why am a rambling on about roads, weather and whatnot? Well, I’ve been on the road for a long time on this particular journey and I’m so very tired. The storm has passed, but I fear another system working in the horizon. That’s okay though, I see a tunnel on the other end of this bend. I just need to make it there, turn off, tune out for a while, come back on the other side of this road trip with a new perspective and maybe… well, maybe some new stories to tell.
- The Responsibilities of Storytelling (or my Obligatory Star Wars, Spoiler Laden Post)
- Native American Authors: A List