Blinking Open

Memoirs of a Downward Facing Dog

Somebody reminded me that focusing on the journey is more important than focusing on the destination.  I think there’s also thousands of fridge magnets and inspirational cards that say the same thing.  But the truth is, it’s easy to forget.  So it’s probably a good thing we keep pumping out the message on those perfect little square-shaped cards, with all the text in lower-case font.  (C’mon….you know exactly the ones I’m talking about.)

For many, many miles, I’d realized that I’d stopped paying attention.  I’d allowed the miles to roll by and blur into a long line of pavement.  I got overwhelmed with the next planned stop, the mileage countdown, or that beckoning pink line on my GPS.  Where I was going was the impetus to roll forward.  Where I was was not so important.

The Midwest became just that:  a blob of states lumped into a group that I felt compelled to make it out of.  Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

I was snapped to attention when, while attempting to make turkey and cheese roll-ups in my lap, I’d hit Chicago.  Suddenly, a long line of taillights blinked into a stadium-like wave of red, and much to the dog’s delight, the turkey and cheese operation was tossed aside as I slammed on my brakes.  Traffic had crept to a standstill, moving slower than the pedestrians walking across the overpass above.  They paused only to wave at the She-Wolf, this mysterious old beast in the middle of a sleek and polished metropolis.  I barely had time to notice or wave back because my eyes were glued to the temperature gauge making sure I wasn’t going to overheat right there in the middle of all that chaos.   God forbid, that be her end.

The cities faded into the rearview mirror.  City blurred into factory.  Factory into industry; industry into farm.  And after that, farm blended into corn, corn and more corn.  The rows of cornstalks stood like sentinel shadows, husky remnants of their former golden glory.  The only thing that stood taller than the corn was the incessant plundering of advertisements on loud, obnoxious billboards.  Apparently, even road-trips have commercials.

The landscape changed from Kentucky to Minnesota.  Maple trees became oak trees and oak trees became bushes, and almost on the exact border between Minnesota and North Dakota, it seemed as if God, and all of his wondrous powers of creation, had decided to call a Union Strike.  Nothing as far as the eye could see.  (Which evidently is 4 miles, before the horizon line starts to curve away.  According to my host in Winnipeg.)

But in that nothingness, I’d started to see everything:  an entire corn field covered with Canadian Geese, more than I’d ever seen in one place, preparing for a migration of their own; a falcon hunting along the side of the road, a lone coyote; the sky and all of its shifting, changing hues.  In the wide-open space I could wander from form to colour to field and thought.  And then do it all over again.   Blasting my music, I started to rock out and sing and drive.

Somewhere in all of that vastness, my heart was set free.  One way or another, I was reminded to be on this trip.

And so, I began to pay attention.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Dad
    Nov 02, 2013 @ 15:13:26

    sounds amazing..be safe..xoxoxo

    Reply

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