Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday, 6:53 AM

I spent several years driving through the country
to complete my college degree. The closest
campus I could earn my credits was a 2 hour
long commute--only 11 miles of it parkway.

For as difficult as it was to make that drive, there
were so many moments in which I caught myself
entranced by the nuances of farm life, John Deere
tractors, sunsets, cloud formations, the water rising
almost over the road in the river bottomlands
I had to drive through, in the music playing on the CD
player, in the hum of the tires.

I am thinking tonight of the journey, of where I've been
since then, of what it meant to me, of how it didn't change
many things in my life, of Zen and The Art of Motorcycle
Maintenance.

What is it Persig said: it's not reaching the top of the mountain
that matters--it's the journey there that is filled with life.
The top is largely barren and the air so thin it's hard to breathe.

I don't know that I was seeking the top of the mountain.
I don't know exactly what I was seeking or trying to prove.
I just drove to my classes and I engaged in discourse
and I fulfilled the requirements to get a degree that has
done nothing for me, professionally.

There were so many moments I wished on those drives
that I was a filmmaker, that I had the camera ready,
that at the moment the sun looked like it was swallowing
the earth, I could capture it, there, with my camera.

I think as much as I bitched about the drive, it was needed.
It was whole. It was a journey through beautiful pastures,
cows grazing, horses tramping slowly toward the fence,
people sitting on their porches, houses lit up for all
the holidays, the neon sign of the one little liquor
store in Friendly always pointing the arrow there,
the tractors with their lights on at night eeriely creeping
over the fields, the owl who swooped down and hit
my windshield, the 10 or more deer standing beside
the road, my eyes trying to adjust to the darkness, the
car in front of me tapping out a brake warning so I would
know they were there, the possums who made it and the
ones who didn't, the feral cats creeping along, their
eyes red in the oncoming glow of my headlights.,
the shooting stars, the pouring rain and driving winds,
the prayer to make it home safely, the police pulling
me over for doing 65 in a 55 and then, feeling my angst
and being in a congenial mood, letting me go with
a warning, the overwhelming fatigue settling in my
bones, the young girl on horseback, ponytail bouncing
in time--a picture of a younger me, the wisteria
bordering the treelines, the crepe myrtles in full bloom,
the red and sugar maples signaling a change in season,
the snowfall plowed and pushed to the side of the road.

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