Roads, Travel, and the Mists of Time

The same road, the same me, different time, different direction, not the same me….

Roads, Travel, and the Mists of Time

The same road, the same me, different time, different direction, not the same me….

I got home tonight after a 500+ mile 13 hour drive from Paonia, Colorado. Today’s travel felt like time folding back on itself, then unfurling forward, as this was the reverse destination of the start of a much longer trip more than 3 years ago.

Earlier in the week on the road, the mental image was more of a kid playing with a bandage on a wound, ripping it off, putting it back. Not healing.

Now the bandage might just stay where it should be.

Like the return of the longer trip in 2011, I drove the last day long and hard to get home, then it was 600 miles from Amarillo. Like that return, tonight at sunset I was racing down a long, straight, empty stretch of highway 87 south of Winslow (yes, that Winslow).

As the gradient of day to night moved across some ill defined line, I noticed to my right, the glowing orange last gasps of sunlight still spilling over the hills, like liquid gold. To my left, a clear moon was hanging high, about two thirds full.

Panorama heading down Highway 87, sunset on right, moonrise on the left.

Tonight Highway 87 perfectly bisected both of these celestial decorations.

About 20 more miles south, the road bends sharply to the west. In 2011, I was watching my odometer on this curve to celebrate the 15,000 mile mark of the trip. Right as the odometer hit the mark, the random shuffle on my iPod brought up the Rolling Stones “She’s a Rainbow”.

I lost it all in tears.

You see, in the end of August 2011 I was on my way from Toronto to Montreal, with hopes of completing a Trans Canadian traverse before heading south eventually to Florida where my Mom lived. I had called her that morning as it was the 10th anniversary that my Dad had passed away. We spoke of hime, we joked and laughed like usual.

While having dinner that night in Belleville, Ontario, I got a frantic call from my sister. Mom was gone. Just like that. Heart attack.

And it was that night, Andy, the friend I was visiting, comforted me with Scotch. He played a song that reminded him of the cookie sharing and butterfly loving stories I told my Mom. Andy played She’s a Rainbow.

Part of a rainbow? A flower spotted on today’s drive along the Dolores River

And when the song came onto my stereo on highway 87, only 30 miles away from home I had not seen in 6 months, in huge waves the grief came. It was the gried that did not come fully at the funeral or the cleaning out of her house, but at the realization that she would not be coming to visit for her annual Thanksgiving trip.

As I approached that curve tonight, I could only imagine what I might do if She’s a Rainbow shuffled up again on that same curve.

That only would happen in a television movie.

This time, it was a different song. Perhaps a message? Indeed, John Mayall and The Bluesbreaker’s Mists of Time was actually even more appropriate (well except for Mom being out on the road with musicians):

Somewhere in the world
Are friends I’ve missed from long ago
Could be drifting by the wayside
Or even dead — I just don´t know
And now my memories are fading
…Like melting footprints in the snow
Sometimes a dream will haunt me
And I see a young girl’s face
Was she once for real
And did she really share my space
Within the swirling mists of time
It’s hard to keep a track of year and place
I thought about my mother
When she was young and on the road
Hanging out with my musicians
Or camping out in forest groves
Like gray mists conceal horizons
I miss those times we’ll share no more
So far my life’s a journey
And I wouldn’t change for anything
All those years of bold adventures
The highs and lows that make me sing
Within the swirling mists of time
Such sweet memories sitll often ring.

Swirling mists of time, folding back on itself, not quite the same, and forward again. Swirling around me, but also sweeping me forward.