Breathe – It’s time to get away to a place where the destination is unknown.
There was a trip I took that began with no intention, other than to get away. I had no direction or reservation to be anywhere at any specific time. No, this was a whim or no, this was a long drive to nowhere.
By now, I’m sure you know that I love these rides. I allow the turn of a key to switch more than just the ignition. To be clear, the playlist is important on rides like this one. You have to pick the right music and once the door shuts and the seatbelt comes around the chest; once the buckle clasps itself into the holder; the car goes in reverse to pull out from the driveway and then in drive to move ahead.
And that’s it. Off we go.
I admit to being part of a small clan that rises early in the morning; therefore, I myself choose to take trips like this at the break of dawn. I love watching the sun bubble-up like an orange yolk in the palm of the horizon.
I love it when the colors of early sunlight cast reflections underneath the bottoms of feathery clouds. I love the coloring, which casts in shades of pastels, like orange and purple, and glow softly across the bottom of heaven.
But more, I love how the sun beams down and casts its hue across the trees, especially at the birth of spring when the wind is warm and nature’s green is beginning to take the stage. I swear this is perfect.
I love the lack of distraction during trips like this. I love the sentiment of the music, which if I allow; each song can take me back to a specific time. If allowed, I can trigger the nostalgia buttons in my heart. This can give depth to the moments while driving through town before entering the ramp to head out on the parkway.
For example, if perchance a song by Lisa Stansfield that was out back in the summer of 1990 comes on, I can think of the time when Mom bought her first convertible. I can remember when Mom drove up to visit me when I was living in a small upstate town and away from the Long Island nonsense.
I can remember a ride to a diner, which was not a special diner per se. The place was nothing extraordinary. Except to me, this was a place away from another place where life was a bit intense at the time. Yet, I was protected.
The diner was a place where they served a big plate of white toast with the perfect amount of butter and a breakfast that filled my belly. Mom and I ate here a few times.
I remember the last time, which was towards the end of the summer. I knew something was on the way. I knew something was about to change. Something was in the mail. I was sure of it.
After breakfast, Mom drove me back to my place and as I looked out the window and up to the sky, I noticed a hawk with its wings outstretched, hanging almost motionless, in a clear unblemished sky.
And for the record – this was years ago or more like decades and I can see this now as clearly as I did back then.
I take little road trips with no destination in mind to rediscover memories like the one I told you about. Or a memory from a time when I drove to the beach on a mid-winter’s morning. I was dressed up from the night before. The air was cold but I was unbothered and both the morning and the sunrise were too beautiful for me to go home. Both were too beautiful to be interrupted by outside distractions such as a worrisome home life and a lack of initiative and failure to launch.
I stood at the shore, black suit, stylish, silver-hooped earrings and an open collar stretched opened across the lapel of my jacket. I stood with long hair blowing in the wind and me in my young adult life – just waiting, just hoping that somehow I might find my way; that is, if there was such a way. Or, maybe there wasn’t and I was fine exactly the way I was; only, I never knew it.
There was a song that was popular at the time and there was a movie that coincided with the song – and though neither are something important enough to mention, I have to mention the opening lyrics that went:
“Is it my turn to wish you were lying here?
I tend to dream of you when I’m not sleeping.”
I was on the verge of something here. I was partly alone and partly in the wrong company. I was partly loveless and partly hopeful that someday, love was real and the things I wasted my time with would someday, and arbitrarily, be lost in the past before my progression to be wherever it is that I am supposed to be. (Like here, right now.)
There are several times and instances which are so very small yet the memories of these things stand out and shine brighter when encouraged by the right songs and the right lyrics.
I don’t mind feeling small or even older. This only allows me the chance to know that the world is bigger than my experience and expectations. I don’t mind that my memories come with bursts of emotions. I don’t mind the feelings. I don’t mind the recollection of times that will never return because ah, at least I can say that I lived. I have seen everything from a holding cell at a New York correctional facility to a Los Angeles rooftop.
I can say that I did things. I saw things. I saw real life and experienced the sense of touch from people who not only encouraged me, but they also empowered me to move beyond my troubled limitations.
I don’t mind the depth of my introspection or the retrospection of my past. Like say, the first time I ever had a so-called date with a girl who told me she liked me and I mean she told me this in public, in front of other people, which made me pause for a second. I was young; however, I never had a person tell me they liked me so openly before. This is my first memory of a romantic disappointment.
I was more excited to be liked than I was to like her back and therefore, maybe this is why my first date was less-than successful.
Nothing happened . . .
Not even a little kiss.
Not that I knew how or if I did, neither did she.
There was a change in me, systematically, and as I approached the end of that day, I understood more about the word “poetry” and the feeling of a beating heart. I was young and trying to be relevant or tough. But more, I wanted to be cool. At the same time, I only wanted to belong somewhere and to someone.
There are drives I take with no intention, other than the only intention which was to leave my life behind me and face the open road. (That’s the future.)
It was a drive like this that began my journey in the tattoo culture. It was drives like this that allowed me the healing power to resurrect myself and push me beyond my limitations. I choose drives like this to become anti-fragile, to grow stronger from the divots along my path and the broken bridges that detoured my journey. I want to be stronger. I want to be better.
I’ll tell you . . .
A good drive and the right music can help the heart and soothe the mind.
Even if the only destination is to find a good bowl of soup somewhere, like say a nice corn chowder, served by a friendly person with a smile who asks, Can I get you anything else?
Trust me . . . this can be lifesaving.
I wish I could go back to some of these trips and take you with me. I wish you could see the view from my perspective and feel the inner value of how the scenery passing us is somehow a gain towards a new beginning.
I would drive anywhere and lose my way, which was even better because no matter where I was; I learned how to find my way home again.
You’d love this. The past can be the past. The future is still yet to be determined but either way, at least for the moment, everything else is suspended and fine.
You’d be welcome here. I’d even let you help pick out the playlist. We can talk about any memory you choose. You can tell me something about being a kid. And I can tell you about when I was a kid too.
You can hear all about my imaginary friend, Abbie. You’d have liked him.
He took the blame whenever I was in trouble. And you know what? Abbie never ratted on me. He was my first true friend. Abbie knew what I did but he never told on me. He never gave my trust away and he never told any of my secrets.
He was so cool . . .
We lost touch Abbie and me. I suppose he’s somewhere with some kid who needs him most. And that’s fine with me. I suppose I’d do the same thing if I could – to be there for someone who needs me most.
But first, I have a drive to take with the destination unknown.