Archive for November 13th, 2009

Condition Responses

Somewhere about 75 miles west of Amarillo, Texas, I accidentally reset my trip odometer, forcing myself to receive yet another cosmic thwack upside the cranium regarding attachment and ego.  I had been keeping track of the mileage driven on this trip out of curiosity and, I’m sure, the desire for some sort of bragging rights once my Walkabout was said and done.  After a fill-up just east of the Texas-New Mexico state line, I reset my primary trip odometer and accidentally hit the button once too often, erasing all 4,400- or 4,800-odd miles I’d accrued on the secondary trip odometer.  After the “Aaaaarrrrgghhh!!!” Heard  ’Round the Panhandle, I had no choice but to laugh at myself, and the random, meaningless importance I had placed on an LCD readout on my dashboard.

On this return third of the trip, I had, in the end, chosen to retrace my tire tracks and return via the exact route I embarked on.  I opted to purchase easier driving, trading off the novelty of more fresh scenery for driving at a less frantic pace, facilitated by stopping with friends again instead of paying for hotels for the entire balance of the journey.  (I simply don’t know anyone who lives in the geographical center of the United States, my alternate-route option.)  I arranged to return a few days later than originally planned, which would allow for another rest-break of several days in Dallas, in turn enabling me to write more than I could manage during days on the road.  I had initially hedged on returning to Dallas, given how rattled I had felt after leaving there on the outbound leg.  But the clarity and groundedness I’d felt since Sarah the Healer worked on me in Boulder remained, and I no longer hesitated to go back the way I came.  The influences that had shaken me up so much before, seemed now (though yet untried and miles away) distinctly outside of me, and no longer so threatening.  It was as though something inside me had finally clicked into place after grinding for heaven knows how long just on the edge of its gear.

So far, that fear I’d wrestled with on the outbound leg remained completely absent as well.  I wasn’t sure if this was because I was back in familiar territory, having driven these roads already, slept in the same town (ah, sublime Shamrock, Texas), and even stopped at the same Starbucks at the Barnes & Noble in the outskirts of Amarillo.  I may never know if the fear was gone because the turf was no longer foreign, or if it might be due to whatever I gained while I was all the way out west.  Only time and further miles will bear that out.

Even within this new stillness, in the two days’ drive between Albuquerque and Dallas, I felt my mood fluctuate distinctly under changeable skies.  My susceptibility to variations in the sky and weather was becoming unmistakable, and this lesson in just how sensitive to light, sun, space, and sky I have become has been surprising.  I did not know this before I left Philadelphia, and it seems crucial information to acknowledge about oneself.  Having grown up in cloudy Cleveland, I remembered sometimes feeling oddly happy on grey days during college, as they made me feel nostalgic.  So now, I felt compelled to question, have I really grown that sensitive to the clouds, or am I just bummed that I’m heading home?  I recalled my cousins touting the fact that Denver boasts, on average, 300 days of sun per year.  Colorado again pulled at me from behind, and I felt a tugging at my heart and fullness around my eyes.

As I approached Dallas toward rush hour, I hit rains once more.  Why did it keep raining on me as I headed into Dallas?  Now it was just pissing me off!  I fought my way through the increasingly monochrome twilight mist to arrive in time for a hurried dinner with Bella.  We had a lot to share, but there was little time before she had to run off to rehearsal.  The rains bathed me in a sense of bewilderment and anticlimax as I made my way across town, back to Pedro’s house, where he and his charge were waiting.

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