roadtrip chronicles IV: another for the road (come on baby, light my fire)

on our way from albuquerque, NM to the arizona border.
Thursday, 7/13/06.
7:15 pm.
2,469 miles.

I think Jim Morrison had magical eyes. I know the Doors had a keyboard/organ player, but as I listen to them right now, I imagine him fueling all the music in some kind of solo, spiritual trick. His hands are raised high, pointing the fire how far up it should go - how far forward in time it should go. And that organ is presently tickling a BNSF train into a slow crawl in western New Mexico. I wonder if Jim Morrison knew that he could make a train move in the future. I wonder if he knew that I would be in the back of Joon letting his stare tickle the ivories that are my fingers. Come on baby, light my fire.

This morning, Will and I left El Paso destined for Albuquerque, NM. This stretch of the trip was very refreshing for the both of us. Will decided he wanted to talk for a while and slow his mind down. I think he is like me in the sense that his thoughts start to overtake him after a while. I do the same thing - if I am left alone with my thoughts too much, I sometimes try to hold them like little child with a hand-full of marbles. They slowly begin to slip through my fingers, and I am left crawling around on the dirty ground desperately trying to relocate, reconfigure, and reorganize. This is the comfort of conversation - it forces you to let only one or two thoughts form at once. When you have to shape those thoughts into words, your mind finally slows down a little and processes everything. Together, we processed thoughts. We talked of the roadtrip, and what it meant to each of us. And I told him how I have been trying to figure out why I really decided to go on this adventure. I know that is just what I wanted - an adventure. But why? ...I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but I know it wasn’t because I wanted to see the Grand Canyon, and I know it wasn’t because I wanted to sleep in the back of my car more than I already do in Knoxville. Perhaps it is because I am bored, but I’d rather think it is just that I am changing, but I'm still unsure as to what I am changing into. And maybe this trip is a way of letting go of all the stuff that gets in between me and God's changing hand. I am trying to see all the options and let Him shove me through the right door. I really just want God to punch me in the face, and I am pretty hungry for that right now. Hopefully He’ll punch me with an Arizona sunset tonight, or the Pacific Ocean in a few days. And hopefully, when I get back to Tennessee, He can punch me with my beautiful friends that I miss. I miss them like Winnie misses his pooh.

We also talked about how depressed I get sometimes when I leave Mckay’s Used Books in Knoxville. I usually feel this way because most of the people checking out beside me are old women with a cart-full of Danielle Steele novels. And I wonder if this emotional escape is really any different than pornography. And I wonder if I don’t try to emotionally escape through Sigur Ros or Bright Eyes or Wes Anderson or even C.S. Lewis. On my best behavior, I am really just like them.

I think our conversation eased both of our spirits and readied us for a beautiful afternoon in Albuquerque. We both sat in Lindy’s coffee shop for a long while as we wrote and read. It was incredibly hot outside when walked around downtown - women woo-hooing on motorcycles, hobos selling timepieces, businessmen with phones close at hand, so we just sat inside and the mad-hatter ate lunch at the table across from us. Albuquerque was pink and yellow with splashes of blue and green. It made me flex my mind and wish I was on a jungle gym or digging up geodes like I was 11 again. We left Albuquerque quietly.

The red mountains and silver shelves of New Mexico are passing by me right now as we drive toward Arizona. Joon is kicking up dust and the sun is about to give way to the moon. This place belongs in the moonlight. The tickled train is long gone, but Jim Morrison is still enchanting a keyboard. One in the past that sings his song, and one in the present that types these words. I feel God in the air right now - through the windshield and through my hat and through my skull. I feel Him in the silence - through the trucks and through the music and through the thoughts that constantly scream in my head. He is so much more than all that. Thank God.

I hope the sun sets in Arizona. We’ll be there in 11 miles and the sun is just now turning red. We’ve got some time.

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