Back on the Road
“…Goin' places I have never been, places I may never see again...” (Willie Nelson)
Home is again a speck in the rear view mirror. This journey begins in the dark of a foggy April morning when the dew is heavy and a chill is still in the air. It is an equivocal time, one to balance leaving the warm place of last night for the uncertainty of today, tomorrow and the months to come.
I do not know what this journey will be. The first time, years and one hundred thousand miles ago, I thought I knew. I was wrong then and I have been wrong every time since. I have learned to take an open mind and to care only about what may be around the next bend. It is a discovery. I know that I will find the world old, new, fresh, wondrous, funny, sad, and absurd in the months ahead. I am looking forward to that.
As La Coachasita heads for the desert and first light, it is a peaceful time. I do not worry about what I may need and left behind or what may be ahead. There will be, if life runs true, some very good things, some boredom, and some uncomfortable moments. Aviators say about flying that it is hours of boredom interspersed with moments of sheer terror. I would like this trip to have only moments of boredom, interspersed hours of wonder, humor, and peace.
I am content to follow the slower traffic down the Interstate before leaving it to head east in the first light. I listen to the comfortable female radio voice that has wakened me for years now. I will not hear her and will miss her tomorrow. I always do. She is familiar, made mysterious by that voice and because she never mentions her name in these early hours. I always hope she will be there when I get back.
There is a world of possibilities waiting. I will see people I have never seen, others I have not recently, and family I want to see before they are too old to remember me, or I am gone and they are not. I wish to see the children, to enjoy them while they are not yet too old to be nearly always joyful. I am without a schedule as are they. We have a lot in common, the small ones and me. I know I will enjoy the trip if the same sense of wonder that they greet the world with is with me.
There are really two parts to this journey. I am out here alone now experiencing what the world may offer. There will be stretches of weeks such as this first when I will speak to not one person I know or have ever met before. Others will be with friends and family that will move and amuse me but will not be new. I look forward to them, too . What they think and feel now is different from what they thought and felt when we last met. It is a time to learn how they have grown, or not, and changed, or not. I will try to schedule my way into their busy lives when they can best be interrupted, for only the children and I have time and flexibility on our side.
I am pleased to be going, which means what is out there draws me more than the force that would hold me here still. I hope I will have the same enthusiasm for it, and the desire to chronicle it, when it ends as it begins.
As the sun rises and I turn east to face it, I move toward unmet people and unseen places. If history is the measure it will be, as the other trips, new experiences in places I have not been and may not ever be again.
As the others then, it will be a memory forever.