Road Trip

Irony has a predictive element that’s disconcerting. It loops around to preen & rub, trailing a tail across my knees. The Dodge Ram Van I bought with mother’s estate money brought this great vehicle into my life but it had a flaw in a cracked battery somehow unseen by the inspector. I left Pennsylvania as a camper with a puppy & found my first stop was to a dealer for its replacement. A new battery & I was “OMW” across the country, returning to New Mexico’s Truth or Consequences, which had taken me in & tossed me out years before.this

I departed T or C this past Saturday morning, heading to stay at a friend’s place in Las Cruces. This short hop provided a chance to do some shopping for travel supplies – “road food” I called it, plus giving me 75 miles on a trip of 350 planned to start Sunday.

Sunday morning brought me a dead battery with its spectacular sunrise & the two tubs I had reduced my life to from a two-bedroom two-story apartment. AAA replaced this & I left ‘Cruces for El Paso & points east in a nervous frame of mind. Once the buttons don’t work, there is a bit of suspicion about pushing them again, a frisson of ‘will this work?’ Fortunately, mechanical problems are so much easier to resolve than others & after a couple of stops & starts to tank up, my confidence returned & I pressed on, mulling over history’s repetition. Like Hollywood movie plots, there is just as much same-same.

I recognize the situation for what it is: resolvable. I also accept I am on my own, on the road & many angels are sharing the space. I am not afraid. The future doesn’t frighten me as the past once did. While not repeating mistakes, I search for what will serve me now. As then, I am unsure what this might be or even where; I am only certain it is worth the search. And it is all I have to do, after all.

As an old woman, I am also an old friend, but these ties do not bind. Travel is its own true love. I could speculate on many why’s but truth tells me I find validation in movement & seeing fresh vistas, landscapes and faces. Two days on the road show me the faces today are determined & not a little harried. People seem pressed for time; the road is full of speeding cars while speed limits sprout orange flag-ears warning: “We mean it! Don’t speed!” For me, Texas’ limit of 80 is over my comfort zone & I hover at 75. Which actually is by no means a hover! I seem to have a dim memory of watching the sway of Conestoga wagons with the same intensity.

I have not seen enough to say with any authority what has changed but there is a sense of rushing about similar to anthills. I’m not decrying it here, just commenting. I’m sure I seem like another ant to fellow travelers. I sense people are trying to make up for lost years, masked by the effort to turn the great ship of state from its seeming port of no return. While some see a golden calf on its horizon, others search for a way to reverse the course.

There is no returning to a past which was not really as satisfactory as its memory. But the travel forward must be understood as an attempt to recapture an idealized “what was.” I do not have that expectation even understanding. I’m on the same loop as everyone out here driving with me. Of course we all want to believe we’re on a unique passage which will bring us to a personal Eden. I’m happy for a clean road stop & a friendly face.

The unknown is interesting & gathers my attention. I know my passage adds at tease of energy to the mix already enriched by hopes, desires, dreams, ideas, feelings. I drive without expectation other than to accomplish the goal of reaching an unexplored area for me: the southeast U.S.

For now, the driving is all there is. A road trip is a suspension of both belief & disbelief. The miles ensure change but truly, is there real change? Yet I am still discovering America & myself, rooting out old emotions & beliefs to be replaced with a mysterious new. Might be I will simply stay the course already set & on repeat mode.

But what else is there for me except pursuing the dream?

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