Road Trip


Travel jumpstarts wonder. 

Leaving the usual haunts along the same paths to and from work, market or eateries, draws out the dormant words, smoldered sparks awaiting flint. 

Nothing but changing scenery piques alertness, imagery and observation so profoundly. 

I eat nature.  

Travel bits piece large land masses speeding roadside to tiny impressions, ideas and memory fragments, creating a large mosaic of tile-words. 

As I write, I fly over the Pacific on my way to Seattle to meet a connecting flight to Spokane, where she awaits.

More likely she waits for my call: “I’m here.” 

She and I will drive the distance Google reports as 19 and a 1/2 hours, but I know better. 

Last June, we drove her to Spokane for school. 

She left school–and Spokane–in December to come home and heal.

Last week, she finally returned to the life she began to make there before the unfortunate detour, the accident.

Her head.

She, who took me to a radical feminist art show last April, who sometimes wears a “cunt” pin, who sports Klimt’s The Kiss line drawing of two women tattooed above her ankle, and who smirkingly cranks up Taylor Swift’s “We are never getting back together” on the car radio, will be my car companion across three states homeward.

Road trip.

Just like last year, the rain astonishes us, its violent insistence.

And again, the greenness of green, the way rain pelts the tinny Honda framed windows reminds me of crackling gum chewers, and the nod to engineers knowing that windshield wipers need three or four speeds, these three I recall in a whirlwind road-swallowing marathon beside a semi-conscious travel mate.

She peered into satan’s screen for 23 of the 24 hours. 

But she never could figure out how to find the nearest vegan restaurant to the five freeway in downtown, perhaps too daft from sleeplessness or not acquainted with practical phone features as much as the camera, social media apps and texting.

I grow older in bounding leaps, too old for freezing, middle-of-the-night rest stops along two-lane, farm-house roadways without gas stations for 94 miles and cramped, compact car cabins designed for legless sleepers.

It could have been the blue moon.

I drove and drove, sidling mountain edges; through snowy pines and meadows, rain-soaked forests and cloud-burst flashes drenching miles of almond trees squared off in rows blurring into golden heather fields dotted with black Jerseys ruminating time and space in their masticant jowly bovine stares prescient with the soon-approaching L.A. traffic psychosis.

And home.

Only my biceps carry the road residuals: the mindless painful wheel gripping in the desperate fight against gravity’s theory. 
 

Through Sacramento to the California border

  
Layers of landscape stacked on the side of the road, the mountains sporting their billowy cotton-cloud-topped effusion, preceded by the barren slighted desert floor sandwiched between the tawny mountains and the tree dotted fields of golden grasses. The blur of the road smears the beauty of the region, the chaparral shrublands, open oak savannas and woodlands, smattering of pine forest, among the California buckeye, manzanita, redbud, chamise and scrub oak.
 
The vistas are heavenly golden blankets of downy cover, resting the blue of the sky, but for the serpentine wend of the wire fences, the blare of bill boards for fast food fare and home cooked rest stops miles upon miles of scarred two-lane highways, truck lined and road sign adorned.
 
We will be leaving the Cottonwood historic sections, headed to the border, through Redding to Ashland, Oregon, where we intend to dine like the gourmandisers we cultivated lo these many moons. The Sacramento River tags us “it” now and again along our straight and narrow, sometimes three-lane highway, connecting the trailers and cows and tomatoes with the rest of the world. Shasta approached.