Friday, August 10, 2012

Companionship of the Road

We drove today for endless hours across South Dakota's wide-spread hills and plateaus, the throaty sound of motorcycles roaring by, the sky soft with dappling clouds. We hit the border during the Sturgis festival so surrounding us at all times (hemming us in, shooting amused and hostile glances at us, and alternately passing then holding us back) were tanned, tough-looking bikers. We thought of our friends who'd give a tailpipe to be here, and fretted against the traffic.

Eire has done well on this trip, riding for over 7,300 miles with aplomb. Sometimes we can just hear her saying "Boring, boring" and sometimes we hear nothing because her toys--gangly Mr. Giraffe, spiny purple Fishy-Ball, or Millie the Worm--absorb her interest. Or we hear her plopping her pacifier in and out of her perfect mouth, gnawing on her thumb, or sucking on her arm.

We fill our time with gawking at the lovely scenery--the craggy majesty of the Mission mountains, the bleak plateaus of Wyoming, the lush Columbia River Gorge, and take turns pointing out bumper stickers (like my favorite today, "Where the HELL is Wall Drug?"), dilapidated buildings, interesting people, and unique vehicles. We read out loud--or rather, I do, since Michael's driven all but fifteen minutes of the six weeks--from short stories, or poetry, or "The Picture of Dorian Grey." We listen to music ranging from Tool to Dylan to Oscar Carcamo. We share visions and dreams. We argue, and make up.

This is the companionship of the road in the McIntyre family. Living in our truck, sleeping in campgrounds and parking lots and loved ones's homes, we have made our way across the country from Missouri to the west coast and back again. Tonight, in Sioux Falls, just six hours away from home and all we hold sacred, I am filled with the crazy conflict that comes with saying goodbye to a chapter in my life and hello to the next. I will miss the quiet morning miles, the coffee kedged from shops ranging from awful to astounding, and the knowledge that anything can happen and probably will.

Tomorrow we pull into Kansas City and plunge back into life. In one way it will be as if it hever changed--the waters of life will part and close over our heads and we will be back in our accustomed places, among familiar faces. But in another way it will be different, because we are different. We have been changed subtly, in increments, by the people and the places we have met along the way, by the challenges and the comforts, by the wisdom of learning more about ourselves and each other.

I am eager and reluctant, joyful and grieved. In this paradox of life I willingly step forward. Greetings Kansas City. Goodbye everywhere else--we'll return someday, not so long from now.


Leslie said...

So looking forward to seeing you, and so understand the strange interface of beginnings and endings...

Anonymous said...

Welcome home, dear!