Driving home from Asheville last night, Sparrow crying in the back of the minivan towards the end of the trip, rain coming down hard, I could not help but think of all the wet miles I’ve driven in my life.
I’m no sailor.
I haven’t lived a life on the sea.
But I’ve spent a fair share of my time hydroplaning in different areas of the country…driving through the unfamiliar…sheets of water trying to drive me down into a more stationary orbit.
And a good bit of it was done before I had my family with me.
That’s a different type of feeling, to be driving by yourself in bad weather.
When I was alone, I was always going somewhere,though. I was going to be somewhere soon if I just kept enough gas in the car and could stay awake.
I was in between the place that I wanted to be and the place where I was.
I had a destination in mind but no good maps.
I remember one trip back from Alabama in an old fastback Dodge.
The car had a slant six and a three speed transmission with the gear shift on the column.
It was a brown car.
It started pouring rain…and when I turned on the wipers, one of the little greased plastic pieces in the wiper linkage broke…and the wipers wouldn’t go.
I remember crossing the state line into Georgia with my head out the window, rain stinging my face…trying to get home in bad weather….trying to see what lay ahead for a young man driving a bad car.
I think that your choices set the tone for your adventures…I chose cheap old cars…so my adventures were often of a comically mechanical nature.
I broke down sometimes.
Now, I travel with my family…and my choices have to be different.
It’s hard to break down with a family. It’s the “communal discomfort” that gets to you…agony and confusion compounded when things go bad out on the road.
So now I make an effort to drive vehicles that hold together a little better.
My family doesn’t need that kind of excitement…and neither do I.
I think that I read the phrase “Wherever You Go…There You Are” on a t-shirt or a bumper sticker somewhere.
I know that’s true….but it’s a truth that I tend to forget sometimes.
I love road trips still. If I could do anything, it would be travelling. I love to travel.
I love it when the “going” isn’t just in service to the “getting there”…when the miles aren’t something to be tolerated until I arrive at the final destination.
I love it when I don’t have to “push through” to get somewhere in a hurry.
I love it when I notice that sometimes the vehicle that I use to get somewhere else is just as important as the place that I hope to arrive at someday.
Maybe it’s the “journey” that’s the life? More important than the place I’m going to? Maybe the “getting to” is the part that I need to wake up and pay attention to?
“(You Were) Going Somewhere” David Wilcox
photo by Zoe Rorvig