Finished... it started as a half post this morning, not enough time before getting on my way again to my friend Colleen's house. I woke realizing I was half way. By the end of today, more than (in miles) and exactly, in time. The little pulsing blue dot on the iphone map app keeps me present. It looks like an eye, sending out sonar pings like sound, "you are here." Correction, I am here. The rear view mirror everyday shows where I've been, the past. The long blue line forwards isn't real, the future. The present is the crest between known and unknown.
I have plotted the distance and turn-offs to my friend's home below Minneapolis. It will be wonderful to rest in her company for a day and a half, talk until we are hoarse, share music and poetry, drink a little, laugh a lot. Colleen is a singer and a song writer, she plays notes while I play with words, and she is as obsessed as I am. Such a pleasure. And she is so good--she doesn't know how good she is, which almost makes her better. I will curl in a chair to watch and listen to her play her latest songs on a grand piano, or her guitar, and if the past is any prediction of the future, the hair will stand on my arms and my eyes will wet. She has a voice like a cello, and if you don't know what I mean, then ok. Her voice is a wave.
I front loaded the miles in the beginning, imagining that by this point I'd be a little more tired. Which is true. Or maybe just a bit slower, more grounded. Not in my head, while totally in my head. But calm. Floating forward, the blue line on the map looks like a river. I keep thinking I am a bit late when I wake, because I have been waking at about 5:30 for months. But then, when I woke at 7:30 this morning, I realized it was still 5:30am. And 7:30am. By Thursday, it will be 8:30am. Time to recalabrate my body clock, when to rise.
A quick note on waving while driving on quiet two-lane back roads. First, do it. You are an asshole if you don't. This is empty quiet land and just be a friendly face, even if the other guy doesn't wave back. It won't cost you a thing. When I used to drive truck, delivering auto parts for my dad's store in Coos Bay, OR, during summers to make money for college, I perfected my wave. There is the little salute, the finger rise, the open palm, the mini karate chop, and the one I came to use, lifting my left hand off the wheel, thumb tucked under to still grasp and steer. The multi-tasking wave. I used it to say "hey", or I see you, or hello, to almost every trucker in town (because they knew my dad, and me by extension), as well as random folks. It makes you smile to wave. So yesterday, driving to and from Devil's Tower, I must have waved 10 times, and people who had lived in quiet spaces waved back.
Five hours until I wave hello to my old, dear friend. As my other friend Laura said, when I saw her the evening before waving goodbye, "bring all your crazy." That is the best part about friends, just getting to be our complicated selves. We don't have to wear any make-up, or disguises, no professional faces, no editting. I will bring all my crazy and Colleen will bring hers, and we will laugh and cry and she will sing. On Tuesday I'll wave goodbye and drive to Chicago, then Wednesday to Toronto, then Thursday to Johnson, VT. Each day, maybe a 6 hour drive instead of 8-10, waving hello and goodbye.
Damn, it is 9:15am, see what happens when I write? I am late. Time to get the little blue dot moving...
...Ok, it is technically the next day, because it is 1:06am, and I am just getting in bed. Such a full wonderful time packed into a short period of hours. So here is the word. But before I insert and format the definition, a quick note: that calmness I woke with never left. It was as if all the frantic unknowing of the last months literally settled, down into the space around my belly button, and I felt grounded into my body. Or maybe I have been sitting too long. But it made me realize I have been moving so fast and existing in my head, and maybe I have caught up with myself. I drove the speed limit, moved more methodically--no flailing.
Second, I was driving along highway 90 in Minnesota, and the second song from Phillip Glass's album Glassworks came on. It is called Floe, which means a sheet of floating ice (and my word of the day was wave, so it had a certain resonance). At the same time the song started I drove into a windmill farm stretching the entire left side of the highway as far as I coud see. The windmills were seemingly turning in concert with the music, which ended (no joke), the second I passed the last windmill. Waves of sound, waves of air, spinning and motion. It was surprsingly beautiful, almost giddy, even as I felt grounded. Odd. Third, I stopped at a rest stop lined with lilac bushes. I love lilac and broke off a bloom and carried it with me in the car, a quiver of smells that enveloped and thrilled, a surge of memory. But because it was smell, in my body. Fourth, I passed the turnoff for the home of Laura Ingels Wilder and realized I now must be officially on the prairie, and the undulating grasses and flat horizon didn't seem oppressive. I realized that there was no where to hide, and what felt scary yesterday seemed commonplace today. A good thing. And then being with Colleen. She sang to me for at least an hour, and I read my poetry, and we drank wine and talked until I got in bed a little bit ago: dreams, things we want to do, have done. Our words a deluge.
1. move one's hand to and fro in greeting or as a signal