Monday, January 3, 2011

Song of the Open Road Redux

Henceforth I ask not for good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing.
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road....

I've set my sails for western shores.  A few mornings ago, I was coming back into the house after putting bird seed out on the feeder, and as my hand reached for the door knob I knew: it was time to go.

I used to feel apologetic for being so susceptible to the song of the open road, but I have come to accept the drifter in me and have not only come to terms with her, but I feel very much at peace with her. It's who I've always been for as long as I can remember. "I yam what I yam," as Popeye would say, and I yam someone who loves the open road; it's a natural fit. It knows when I'm ready and leaves a trail for me to follow. We've been friends for a very long time.

Being on the road gives me an opportunity to let everything fall away as the miles stretch out before me, that ribbon of road singing under my wheels. I find my energy falling into a quieter movement and a greater awareness follows. It has a way of bringing things into clear focus. It clarifies, cleanses and purifies (damn face products have stolen all the good words) and yes, it even heals. As long as I can get behind the wheel I will probably be moving between Point A and Point B. Point A being Minnesota and Point B being somewhere else, most likely out west. I love the West and all it seems to represent. I Know it is my spiritual home. But, Minnesota is the land of my roots and having a piece of land there again gives me a true sense of place: a place to call my own, a place to return to at the end of the day, even when that day turns into a string of days spent under the blue New Mexico sky, or in the red-rock canyons of Utah. I wouldn't want it any other way.

I spent last night somewhere along I-90 in South Dakota. Mitchell. Corn Palace Country. I was there with Coleman once, en route to a camping trip in the Black Hills. It's an interesting place. I remember thinking it would be, uh, corny, but liking it more than I thought I would. Quite an accomplishment actually. But, today was a day of open prairie, broken only by the occasional rolling hills. Atop a solitary hill, lightly dusted with new snow, a small herd of pronghorn antelope stood silent, heads held high against a backdrop of blue sky, so quintessentially western.

As I'm driving, I have a strange sensation, as though every cell in my body is being replaced - out with the old, in with the new - with road tunes for company. And good company it is - "Guitar George, he knows all the chords."  By tomorrow afternoon, I'll be in Moab, Utah. I can't wait to feel my feet firmly planted on red rock - Arches in the evening light. But, tonight I sleep nestled up against the Rockies, at the edge of this mountain village, here on the western slope.

You road I enter upon and look around! I believe you are not all that is here;
I believe that much unseen is also here.

~ Walt Whitman,  "Song of the Open Road" 

Photos taken somewhere outside of Moab, courtesy of my long-time friend and hiking pal, JB.

Song lyrics are courtesy of Dire Straits


  1. Fantastic photos!
    I can understand what you are saying about being on the road. It is such an uplifting experience.
    It makes me think of the Australian Aborigines who their 'walkabout'. Copy & paste:
    Enjoy your road trip.

  2. Wonderful. I love travelling because I live in the present moment, eyes wide open not drinking in the place.

  3. It seems your voice is radiantly true when you are on the road. I've heard it before. Yet, Lonewolf is there for you when you return -- a place, your place. Jack of Sage to Meadow

  4. Oh, my, this is a dramatic announcement. I can identify with the places about which you write. Best wishes on this road trip. May it bring vistas of self discovery.

  5. I feel that stir to travel myself. I like to get a 30 day pass with Amtrak and float, getting off where I feel I want to find true life.During the warm months I can barely stay home.I never unpack my van except to do laundry.If someone says come visit, I never let them down.

  6. Dear Teresa,
    So what am I missing here? You are on a fantasy flight on the open road, right? This is in your dream land, correct? You didn't just lock up the old farm house and turn on the car ignation key??? This is one of those vicarious trips. For having no earth in my astrological chart, I often show signs of over practicality. This being the case when one sign is void.

    You should meet Marilyn and travel with her. She absolutely can't stay in one place for very long. She does return to a central home but then she gets in the gypsy van and is off.

    Or like the movie "Chocolate." She had to move on when ever the North wind blew but finally true love caught up with her and she roamed no more. Her little girl was a big influence too.

    What's so strange.... I think of myself as a true gypsy but I hate (really dispise) travel. Every day I say, ''I love my home" like the little girl on the YT video who goes through her full life of the things she loves. My husband was the saggitarious gypsy and I did travel with him but I knew when he was gone, I'd never again leave my hone.

    In spite of our difference, I understand. Where ever Marilyn is, she calls and sends packets and I stay home. So with my little Teresa. Blog and send messages so I know where you are and that you're OK and I'll be home to receive them.

    Until the message comes....
    Love and peace, Manzi

  7. We have a bit of reverse synchronicity today on posts, I was just posting about the toll travel can take compared to trips I took in the past, but still the trips are what must be done. I hope you aren't traveling in the wonderful truck in the photos as I fear you'd be hard pressed to make it. Have a good one, I have the wanderlust and long be to out on the open road soon, one of these days very soon. Gary and I do some of our best "talking" while driving, probably because all the problems fall away as the trip progresses. Be safe.

  8. You definitely sound energized. Safe travels, and happy discoveries.

  9. Off to another adventure! Keep us posted; am glad you have a laptop or internet available during your journey. Luck!!

  10. Marilyn, I've always been fascinated by the aboriginal walkabouts. Thanks so much for the link!

    Joan, Yes, eyes wide open!

    Thank you so much, Jack. Yes, my place - home. It's good to have a place to go back to.

    Paul, It may seem dramatic, but I do tend to do things on the spur of the moment. I had an inkling, though, that I would be going right after the first of the year, so not a total surprise. :)

    OOTP, I've never done the Amtrak thing, but it's always sounded like a fun way to travel...finding "true life." Yes.

    Manzi, Not a fantasy flight, not dreamland. Yes, I locked up my house and turned the ignition key. I will keep you posted. So far, wonderful fun. I've landed in Moab and all is well. Thanks for keeping the home fires burning...
    Love and Peace.

  11. Linda, I can see where the road would provide a good place to "talk," letting everything fall away... No, not my transportation's a tad more reliable... but I could not resist that truck. It's seen some miles...

    Nancy, Thank you. Discovery makes life full and rich. It's good to be out here again.

  12. What a wonderful spontaneous idea, a road trip! I remember when I first started following your blog, you were on the way to Maine.

    We did our first short road trip - to eastern Idaho - the week before last. I loved the wide open vistas, unlike the green cloistered hills we have here.

    If you get out to the upper left-hand corner, look me up. We'll be back from Mexico on Saturday the 15th

  13. You really have decided to go out and play...hope you're having fun! Think it's wonderful that you can just pick up and go. Can't wait to hear about your keep us i can live vicariously through your travels. Keep safe...and rock on!

  14. Linda, You're much warmer than I am, but i am having a fine time. I, too, love the open vistas. Now, I'm surrounded by snow-capped red rock and it's beautiful. have a great time in Mexico and I'll keep your little corner of the world in mind. Thank You!

    Karen, Yes, It's so good to have a shift in scenery and perception. Rock on...and red rock it is... :)