Thursday, June 11, 2009

excerpts from a travel journal.

May 30, somewhere outside of Cleveland, Ohio.

-It is me. It is Kim. It is Kimm. Kim's dad packed a bunch of maps but I didn't like them, so I bought one at a rest stop in Ohio

-Ohio is so flat. Every time I think I see a hill, I'm just tricking myself. Because of that and the continuous 360 degree horizontal horizon, I feel like we're moving in a spherical snow globe-like thing minus the snow. It's so sunny. I associate flat roads with going to the beach -- the ocean, really. Only we're not going to the ocean; we're practically running from it. Going west.

-Going past Toledo now. River is very muddy, and Kimm does not advocate doing hard drugs, he said. I don't need heroin to feel "the fuzz."

-"Go Gleaming" -- the act of choosing to shine and feel present and joyously with all effort and all abandon

--Remember the red truck driving through the field. Remember how you felt and thought of Heather. Something a good friend does -- remembers (and not just birthdays).

-Trees in the middle of a field = lightning trap. Kimm has a different measure of success than me. It's because he has kids.

-So much work goes into one vegetable.

May 31

"Win or lose, we still booze, the Kim and Kendra story." Puke every morning, Kim said. Kimm is taking a train to Seattle tomorrow. I'm glad he is and not pussy-ing out. I want the best for him and I want him to feel fulfilled.

-Chicago is: easy to bike, has lots of dogs, families!, so friendly, a place to buy liquor any time, anywhere. Lake Michigan is so blue.

-My relationships with the people I love are probably the most important things to me. We're in rural Illinois now. The Midwest is so gd beautiful. Loyalty is a good friend trait. It's hard to write high and distracted, but I'm so thankful for everything all the time.

-Took photos of a corn crib, which we called a barn, but a Livingston County cop corrected us. Did a toe-touch with him. He convinced us to drive on Route 66. So we are. I bet we're his dinnertime story.

-License plate on some Chrysler near Lincoln, Illinois --BADONK.

-Lights are much more apparent, or obvious, in farmlands. You can see them from very far away 'cause no trees are making them hide out.

-Remember crossing the Mississippi and entering the western part of the United States of America. Remember "Tuesday's Gone" and remember feeling the hot, sticky air.

June 1

-Under the arch: "homeless wonders."

-Kim had Taco Bell. She'll be shitting by the next exit, which is 22 miles away.

-K-Tag: the EZ-Pass of Kansas.

June 2

-The lobby smelled like my apartment building. Abilene is the birthplace of President Eisenhower.

-Remember passing Salina and how yellow it was on that prairie. Remember the contrast of the dark, damp dirt road cutting through the golden fields. It is raining now, but you can still see so far through the mist and muggy haze.

-Along the highway are oil drills and in the distance, I see shrubs that look like animals. All nice thoughts thwarted by a big billboard asking me if I die, where will I spend eternity? "Jesus is real," another declared. These signs were both in a threatening font. Clearly in God's country where yesterday the headline of the Wichita paper read of a late-term abortion doctor being slain on the pulpit. Font was real thick. Bet it made national news.

-Pulled over to see some big dino in Hays. Packet lied. Bullshit. "What the fuck is this dumb shit," Kim said. "I want to see that dino!"  Get out, toe touch on long dirt road and leave. Also fun: defying GPS.

-Time travel exists! Now in Mountain Time. We're a Philly-Scranton distance away from Denver. Consider me psyched.

-Colorful Colarado is so green. I'm anxious to see the mountains. Go away, asshole rain. Seriously! You're crimping my views! I just saw a rusty train that said "Union Pacific" on the side. Vaguely remember Charlotte talking about that line -- wonder if she was ever in that train yard. I suddenly feel very close to her.

-Fifty miles from Denver. Houses are more prevalent than before. Look rusty. Could use some TLC. Just heard from Kimm. He's in Montana. I wish I could see what he was seeing and vice versa. I miss him already.

-Openness. Open? This state is so open. But not for business, which I like.

-Yo clouds, GTFO. I'm in Denver and I can't see the fucking mountains.

June 3
The weather turned right in time for me to go outside this morning and see the Rockies in the distance. I teared up. Now we're driving through them, and around each corner is another spectacle, another one of Earth's gifts. From the sky, I bet the pine trees look like a soft landing for a fall.

-We're more than 11,000 feet above sea level. After the Eisenhower Tunnel, we came out to a postcard-worthy shot of snow-covered mountains. I see: green, red, grey and white. And of course, blue, because the sky is so bright and beaming almost like it's saying, "Hello. Here it all is. Here is my Earth for you."

-Colorado went from pine trees and mountains to sedimentary red and taupe rocks. They look like big piles of sand just waiting to be crushed with a single giant's footstep.

-Utah is so close. Saw the first sign for Moab, "Where adventure begins." You bet.

-We came over this hill and with one mile left in Coloradio, the desert opened up and then you were in Utah. It's unreal. It looks like Mars. No power lines, houses, anything. Just Earth.

-Utah's got wack liquor laws. I paid a dollar to become a member of a "private club," but really it was just a bar next to a diner in Moab. The mountains behind us look so creepy at night.

June 4
This morning we hiked for miles to some arches. We were very high in the air and I kept losing my breath, not only out of exhaustion, but awe over the rainbow of rocks below us. I have so much to say about a place that looks like an ancient land with twisted juniper and red rock. I feel like T-Rex is just going to come out from a canyon and gobble us up. You can see shapes in the rocks like shapes in clouds. I see three men sitting on a rock in the distance. Wonder if they're in awe, too.

-I love the taste of salt on my lip.f

-Remember the LaSal Mountains and how 95 degrees in dry heat felt like 79. Remember the seemingly discarded Earth and how the green bled into the red, the blue and the grey. Remember the knobby rocks and the cool, smooth sand in your hands and burying the gnome in it, just so he, too, could get a taste of what it felt like. Remember the cacti, the lizards, the soft plants and places you seeked shade in. Remember the folds, the cracks, the bends, the paths and the impressions of erosion and how everything is resilient but so sensitive to change all at once.

-This place is just a big playground.

June 5

I'll be back in deciduous forest by day's end. Can't say I really want to yet.

-Flying over the Rockies makes me feel like I'm looking at Google Maps. Oh my. Google is a brand. I use it as a verb. 

-I just landed in Pennsylvania and we're waiting for a gate. I already feel reality crushing me. But I love this place, this state, the people. It is my home. Thank you, forces of the universe, for making life and living such a fucking gift. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope and pray that the sparkle never really fades.

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