roadtrip chronicles V: oh, my sweet disposition

las vegas, nevada.
saturday, 7/15/06.
10:11 pm.
3,050 miles.

Will and I woke up early yesterday morning at the Arizona Welcome Center. We actually got cold that night and had to cover up with a blanket. The sun had set into a cliff that night, and when we woke in the morning, we noticed several teepees and buffulo stand-ups and billboards boasting of authentic indian jewelry clinging to its rocks. We washed and headed for Flagstaff. The stretch of I-40 east of Flagstaff is sullen. The city is always in the back of your mind and you know it is close. For some reason it never seems to come and it is always looming in the distance. We passed by the Petrified Forest, we passed the dinosaur fossils, we passed the largest petrified tree, we even passed the largest meteor crater in the world, hoping Flagstaff would suffice for missing all those garnished attractions, but it remained in the distance. I think the reason for this is because the flat, dusty land is torn upwards in Flagstaff. You see the mountains waving in the boiling heat about 30 miles out, spinning your mind to an oasis trance. Eventually, and thankfully, the mountains become visibly solid and authentic giants.

I found myself feeling sad on the road. I thought how foreign the desert seemed. So foreign that it felt like another planet. I could actually understand why so many people in this part of the country have conspiracy thoeries and some even claim to have been abducted into silver saucers and anesthetized in spherical ERs with black-eyed doctors. I also thought about people back home. I wondered what would happen if I just stayed here and never went back. And it made me sad. Not because I knew that would be a terrible thing to do, but because I realized that I often seek other's love by acting like I don't want it. Instead of pursuing conversation or fellowship with friends and family, I ignore it until it hurts. And I was hurting this morning because I didn't know how to wander through Arizona and seek my friends at the same time. I think that is why I didn't want to even bring a phone or computer with me in the first place. Maybe I will stop dialing up and signing on and opening my mouth for the rest of this trip. Maybe then I will actually have something meaningful to say to someone when I get home.

I entered Flagstaff drained by my desert sadness. Will felt the same way. We decided to climb a mountian that shadowed the city, so we made our way down route 66 to the Elden Lookout Trailhead. We hiked up the 3 miles to the summit and rewarded ourselves with a cool glass of gatorade once we reached the bottom again. Something happened as we hiked that lifted the weight of our sadness, so we took our rejuvinated sprits to enjoy a Celtic festival that we found going on at an amphiteater in the historic downtown. I fell in love with the city then. The gray haired women, the german shepherds, the chaco wearing children, and the bearded fathers all poured onto friendly streets that invited me in with no questions. I found myself lying on the downtown sidewalk, wishing things and tearing things up inside me. I could not hold a single thought steady for more than 3 seconds, but I knew that something was wanting to change. It started to hurt after a while and I sweated in the coolness of the night. I was very sad to leave that city.

This morning we woke in a parking lot on route 66 and stole north toward canyon country. The canyon is too big to try and describe, and I don't think I will ever quite appreciate its beauty. It is grand, and it is a canyon. Now I sit in Las Vegas after taking Hwy. 93 over the Hoover Dam. This city of lights is obnoxious. It is too hot to care, and my fingers are melting as I type. I didn't actually plan on ever coming through Vegas, but here we are, and we could have done without. Driving through the downtown strip made my legs shake like a math exam. When we finally left downtown and headed to our vacant lot for tonight, I felt as if I had just been given a second chance at life after a traffic jam trip to hell. I'm just trying to appreciate the little things right now - like the fan in my car that's really just blowing the hot air around, or the granola bar rumbling in my belly, or the streetlight thats shining in my face. I really can't wait to leave Vegas.

No comments: