Back in My Road Days

Prose, including snippets (mini-memoirs).
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mnaz
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Joined: August 15th, 2004, 10:02 pm
Location: north of south

Back in My Road Days

Post by mnaz » April 11th, 2019, 7:59 pm

I did crazy runs. People thought I'd lost it. Kevin, the ex-grunt who did time on a desert army base, said everything below Oregon was a "shithole." But Chef Steve knew it was just something I had inside. And so I returned to the great desert playa a few more times-- to the spaces between. I'd slip out of work on Thursday afternoon to cheat Friday and get rolling, thousands of miles in a few days. But I came to realize the problem of motion mania. A hard run out to the edge might set up a quiet launch beyond, but if I went too far, too fast, I might miss my turn, or a fever might follow me out.

.......My first map had only lines and points, so I always ran to the next point and ignored the blankness between . . . Until I got a better map, one that showed every ridge and thin trail, so I could see what filled in blankness; like hawk aeries atop cliffs; or the foolish, joyous squawks of spadefoot toads after blessed rain, out of their sleep holes to play and screw in the mud, not wasting a single precious second as their hardened predators circled closer; maybe a rattler twisting away from my treads, only heard, not seen.

.......I traded eight lanes for four, and four for two, but even two were too fast, so I found dirt. Yet even on dirt I sometimes moved too quickly; I wanted every scene from every angle. But I could never get to it all, only more of it, so where was the balance between motion and connection? I was always rolling too fast in those days; it was six hundred miles out to the edge of trees and no time to get there. But I could still catch a small world's vastness, its creeks, peaks and bluffs-- things you can't get from up in the sky.

.......No, you can't fly hundreds or thousands of miles on an airplane and get the shape of rock; you get hazy little bumps under the wings. Huxley said we'd fly on rockets by now-- no shape at all, just a blue-brown blur in the window . . . So I had to spurn the airport, with its tinny echoes of voices and footsteps on miles of sterile, gleaming concourses, and acres of vast window systems with distant jet planes inside them creeping and launching. No, to get the shape of rock I'd need the surface, at the speed of wheels, no more.

.......I had to get away. To see other places that others had to get away from to see the place I got away from. Eventually we all go in crisscrossing arcs and bet the over-under, react and refract, ping peaks and set sights. So for awhile I had to make an uneasy peace with the long haul road, no way around it. But I could still find stretches of the Old Road where old classics still stood, with a poetry of their own. The best rooms had some mileage on them, some mix of cracked walls or singing pipes, splintered chairs, antique air and carpet from the Carter years worn fuzz-bare like patterns of dry stream beds. I could find them on the Old Road, the neon streets, literary places, faces nicked, some with big fat door casings beneath twelve layers of paint.

saw
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Joined: May 23rd, 2008, 7:32 am
Location: B'more, Maryland

Re: Back in My Road Days

Post by saw » June 15th, 2019, 10:16 am

the solitude of man meets the desert
and I am reminded of diving into to Edward Abbey
his forages into the desert with crappy shoes and supplies
but driven by something bigger than comfort
If you do not change your direction
you may end up where you are heading

mtmynd
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Joined: August 15th, 2004, 8:54 pm
Location: El Paso

Re: Back in My Road Days

Post by mtmynd » June 18th, 2019, 3:10 pm

A solid piece of literary desert madness, Naz... you were there alright and brought the reader along with you, gratis.

"... where was the balance between motion and connection?"

Keep thinking like that and you'll grow even more... it's a healthy mind that goes there.

"... I could still catch a small world's vastness, its creeks, peaks and bluffs-- things you can't get from up in the sky."

Fortunate you can.. so many wouldn't know what they were looking at... no fault of their own, mind you,

"... had to get away. To see other places that others had to get away from to see the place I got away from."

Interesting path you took with this line.. impact is not always handy or even necessary but when you got it, use it! You did a quite well...

"The best rooms had some mileage on them, some mix of cracked walls or singing pipes, splintered chairs, antique air and carpet from the Carter years worn fuzz-bare like patterns of dry stream beds. I could find them on the Old Road, the neon streets, literary places, faces nicked, some with big fat door casings beneath twelve layers of paint."

Indeed, you have been there and taken in so much of what "it" is... and it is a marvel where saints go to find their god within...
whether it be Luke 17:21 or Tolstoy and dozens of like sayings, it is.
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mnaz
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Joined: August 15th, 2004, 10:02 pm
Location: north of south

Re: Back in My Road Days

Post by mnaz » June 22nd, 2019, 5:04 pm

Thanks Cec. Appreciate the observations and comments. The sheer distance-- hundreds/thousands of miles-- from my "Dark City" to the desert meant I had to submit to some degree of "motion mania" in order to get there and back in whatever limited "free time" I could scrape together. So I had to "make peace" with the long haul road. But it was also a bit of a precarious balancing act: I couldn't go so fast that motion mania followed me out into the open spaces..

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