Life is a highway…

My photo background on my computer screen is of a wide-open road as the sun is coming up. I loved the moment and the colors and even the way the specs of bugs on the windshield were visible. It was the middle of summer, in the middle of nowhere, in the wee small hours of the sunrise. We were on our way from a stop off from an in-law’s home in Nevada to Southern California. We’d decided to leave that early because I found out that the Starbucks nearby was open all night. So with a large hot coffee and an insulated latte, we hit the road at 4:30 and I drove while my family slept.

I love driving long distances. I love driving in the early morning hours. When the nerves in your body are jumpy from being jarred out of their normal circadian rhythms. When no one else is on the road. When you keep the radio off, and all that is left is an open world around you and thoughts that soften with the hum of air drifting around the streamline shape of a car moving at heightened speeds. I’ve stared into these voids all over this country and drowned out the incessant chatter of my ‘shoulds’ and ‘need to’s’. I’ve written complete stories in my mind. I’ve come up with characters and had imaginary conversations and interactions with them.

I’m all versions of myself in those moments. Past, present and future. I’m delighted by the long pause in time, where, even though there is physical, forward movement, life stills. The new rhythm of time seems to fold in on itself and expand. And I’m happy to just lend my time to watching, thinking, and drowning on the road stretched out before me.

We’re on the road this weekend. And I’m wading around in all sorts of Kerouacian thoughts.

“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

I’ve measured out my life in road trips as much as I’ve measured it out in cappuccinos. The number of stories I’ve written as I zoomed around curves in the states are innumerable. And once I’m back home, my feet on solid ground, slowed, I feel like I’m in a race against time to fine tune those fanciful stories and find them a home in the wide opened world. Some might see the light of day, others are joyously happy to swim about the large, handwritten archives of my office. Some, well they are Wonderlands nonsense saved for me and the open road.

Life is a Highway by Nicole Sharp

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