Then the trip. And it’s as if the old world, the old ways never existed.
It is 4:45 a.m. as I write this. New Year’s Day. We have crossed over from one year to the next. When the sun went down last night, we cooked dinner, popped a bottle of champagne we’ve been carrying around for months, and then – under only the light of the half moon – we scoured the sky with our binoculars. Stars upon stars. Countless dots of light, light hurtling at us – like the light of the North Star – sent this direction hundreds of thousands of years ago. And then, like old people all over, no matter the home or location, we turned in early, long before the big ball dropped in NYC or anywhere else. At midnight we were asleep as one year clicked into the other.
I woke up very early, and I began to think about the journey and what it means. Towns, places, and the highways that connect them. Always lurking is, “What’s next?”
This trip is full of things that are named and unnamed. I’m writing a book, trying to figure out if I want to keep teaching. My wife is deciding what’s next for her, a business, back to her career, something else we don’t even know.
Loose ends. The money is disappearing. It’s not an endless supply, I can tell you. I have the small white bank receipts to prove to you that the time is dwindling. But we wouldn’t go back now. We’re something like halfway. Half the miles. Half the country. We wouldn’t turn back for anything. It’s a road that we chose and one we’re going to hurtle down until we finish the journey. When tmy work on the book is over in a few months, I suspect the sadness will be real and overwhelming. The real world will intrude like never before. But there’s time still. Time still to continue the dream.
Just now, the light is appearing in the east, over a hill whose name I do not know. My wife sleeps. I leave the mighty RV – Winnie Cooper – for a bit. The desert is always cold in the morning, but I stand out there for a while anyway. The only sound – I mean the only sound – is the rush of blood in my temples, the sound of my breath. The sound of a new world coming on.
This excerpt comes from Poets on Place.