Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Good morning America, how are you?
At 4:30 in the morning I am scraping down the deep ruts of frozen Vermont dirt roads, car headed South, Arlo Gurthrie singing City of New Orleans on the radio. My Subaru is packed to the gills with my old books, ratty clothes, kayaking gear, collection of board games, a notebook full of pictures of the people I left in Chile, and a box full of shells and stones that boys have given me.
Besides those things, my dog in the back seat, and a Pyranah playboat on the roof, I don't own much else. I'm also bringing with me the mysterious headaches, the pressure behind my eyes, the cruel stomach pain and the tingling in my feet, basically a body about as strong and resilient these days as a butterfly in a hurricane. They say if things aren't working out than you'd better change up the scene. Here's hoping I start to feel better in a college town in North Carolina that I'm moving to purely because I want to.
The first time I made this drive was a year last September; I arrived bleary-eyed and staggering after 17 hours on the road. I went directly to the Boone Saloon, had a neon-green midori sour and was blasted drunk for the rest of the night. I passed out, then spent the entire next day recovering from the drive.
Since then I've put more than a few notches in my fan belt, driving to and from West Virginia and North Carolina when I taught at New River. I once drove from Fayetteville, West Virginia to the Ottawa river in Canada in one fell swoop, with 4 teenage girls in the car. During the course of that 16 hours, three of them cried, one girl burned up with a fever that rose one degree through every county we passed through, and they played "Hoe Down Throw Down" by Miley Cyrus...on repeat. After that....well, safe to say it's only gotten easier. (Although a lot less interesting, and I miss those girls very much, and I do think that song is sort of kicky.)
Regardless, 15 hours on state highways, no fast food stops, I sail through the clear turquoise of morning, to the mottled cloud skies of a muted winter afternoon, straight on through to the deep electric blue of evening. When darkness closes in and the world narrows, I'm passing the welcome sign into North Carolina, saying out loud, "hey Carolina, I've been here before, do you know me yet?" Just as I pull into Boone, funny-looking clouds are starting to weep ice and slush, drenching the already ice-hobbled landscape.
It's a town deep in the depression of a surprisingly bitter and proficient winter. But to my it looks just rosy, glowing with possibilities. It's just a canvas, a blank slate, a clean start, twenty thousand mistakes I haven't made yet.