― Barry López
|Bodie, California ghost town, photo credit, with thanks.|
In memory, our family automobile travel occupies a lot of time - days and hours over a number of years. Through revisiting, it seems it was more the intensity of the experiences than the duration. We learned, my siblings and I, what our parents may have already known or were discovering along with us - how to be solitary when not alone. We spent hours in silence as we rode, the landscapes of our separate thoughts widening, further initiating us into the society of world-class escape artists whose only exit door was one that led within.
|The Mojave Desert, photo credit here, with thanks.|
If it is true that our stories hold us together, I suspect mine attached themselves to me on those deep and repeated wanderings. It wasn't the desert itself that I saw, nor the fields, billboards or fog rolling out like a carpet above Big Sur's plunging cliffs. It was shadow dancers, lantern slides come to life, vignettes in a camp fire, seeping through like cave damp with its stale air.
From those inner roads, we would always find our way back, loosening the imagination's spell by plunging our hands into the ice and water of a soda cooler on a country store's front porch or hearing the tires crunch on the farm's graveled driveway. Yet after so many visits, parts of us chose to remain in those other realms, parts of us reside there still, feet in two worlds.
|Eric Hines' photo, "Rolling Fog in Big Sur," with thanks.|