On the Road

Tracy Dunham
A long car trip is, in some ways, my idea of heaven and hell mixed together. Seeing sunsets without city lights, mountain ranges misted with rain, barns falling into fields shoulder-high with weeds going to seed, I soak it all in and store it away for future use. In a book, of course. I read authors I normally wouldn't, stretched out on hotel beds I don't find comfortable, missing my family nest at home. I found a couple of writers I'm going to add to my "must read everything she writes" list. That, and new sights, are some compensation for leaving home.

The other "up side" is that I'm outside my comfort zone. The downside is, I'm outside my comfort zone. Physically and intellectually. Knowing I'll be going home gives me the freedom to pretend this is where I'm from, this is the vista I see every day from my bedroom window, when in fact, it isn't. This illusion mixes into the recipe for a book, adding to its spices and giving it a flavor I might have missed. I like that.

Going home is heaven. My own sheets. My own kitchen window with the cat pouncing on its sill, yelling at me to fill his bowl. For days, though, I carry pictures in my head of a black ribbon of road, twirling around mountains, valleys cut by rivers running faster than the Chrysler's speed limit.