Skip to content

échapper.

I am home from a few days of driving, aimlessly and watchfully, through the alien landscapes of the southwest. There is such emptiness on those plains, and such searching beauty, and such implacable indifference.

I find this all so reassuring.

I love such traveling. It provides the easy excuse to be a stranger, a state that has always felt most comfortable to me. It provides the delicious ability to imagine rich and uncontestable stories about even the most squat and obvious encountered others. It provides distance from the familiar, which feels somehow safer when preserved in a bubble of memory than it does in person, when every fragile shift is felt. It provides a pleasurable, rapturous sense of anticipation, as if anything, and everything, could happen. (Still, I do not think I would much enjoy a career that put demands and limitations on the luxurious escape these peregrinations provide–part of the enjoyment involves casting all timetables to the wind, or, rather, playing carelessly with time itself. I was gone for days, but it might have been minutes, or perhaps months.)

My favorite stretch was on Highway 71 in Colorado, a Euclidian axiom of plane geometry. I saw, for nearly two hours, nothing save the road, the prairie, and the inexorable distance of the horizon. Or no, that’s not entirely true: at one point a semi passed, greeting me with the blast of a horn and force enough to nearly skip my small car off the narrow two-lane blacktop, and at another, a rabitting thing shot off the same road ahead of me.

Of course the world is never as empty as it seems: after only a few minutes the clouds cataracting the otherwise clear sky gained an alluring significance; after another twenty the hum of the road began to whisper strange lullabies; after an hour I could have driven forever. Perhaps one day I shall try.

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. I loved this, Siona. We are only just reaching at the point again in our lives where we can contemplate taking off for days without a real plan, destination, or return date. Yesterday we talked of taking off and driving across Canada, almost forty years after the last time either of us drove across the continent. My only problem with this dream of freedom and anonymity is that it’s supported by oil…in a way, walking in a big city can have some of the same effects on my head.

    June 15, 2010
  2. r a p t u r o u s

    O!

    June 15, 2010
  3. Wonderful, evocative post, Siona.

    I used to go out driving when I was young, as soon as I learned to drive – it was such a feeling of freedom. Then when I traveled for business when I was in my 20s, I had free use of a rental car and lots of weekend time to explore – usually out in California. What heaven! Now I rarely drive very far. But I did go to New Mexico again by myself a year ago – the Southwest *is* such an alien and beautiful landscape. It was a real joy, reminding me of that old feeling of wanting to drive forever.

    June 17, 2010
  4. Siona dear! Your writing is as beautiful as your meditation which I attended one dayat Gaia. I’ve been living with no agenda or timetable after I quit my full time job in 1995 and somehow fell into the seduction of spirit, which came as a White Wolf in my dream and ran off with me as a baby in her mouth!

    Now many meanderings of life takes me to US Social forum where i may just burst out my cocooned heart open without fear of premature birth or death! Sipping tea is the best thing in moments like this! Love.

    June 18, 2010
  5. Beth: It’s been strange, and I am a little ashamed to say I’ve been more paralyzed by possibility and the open-endedness ahead than I’d care to admit. (Have you read Kafka’s The Burrow? I feel a bit like the obsessive subterranean creature of that work, and this escape to the plains was a nice fleeing from.)

    You should drive across Canada! Oh, how beautiful that would be. And besides, driving a relatively fuel-efficent car a long distance is often more environmentally friendly than taking a plane to do the same.

    Leslee: I’ve never been much of a driver–too much time in cities–but being here the experience is so different. And oh, do you think we might have been nomads in a past life? I feel so much more at home moving than I do settled.

    gaiafriend: I love your prescription. Tea. I will keep that in mind.

    June 25, 2010
  6. 1. I love travel writing.
    2. Good poetry is travel writing.
    3. This is good poetry and great travel writing!

    July 4, 2010
  7. meenakshi #

    To be a stranger in a strange land…that is the greatest freedom of all. …to define the redefine yourself till there’s no need to define at all.
    and driving – a meditation of unexpected directions!

    August 8, 2010
  8. Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed readong it, you could
    be a grdeat author. I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and will often come back very soon. I want too encourage that you continue
    your great job, have a nice afternoon!

    July 4, 2015

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s