Driving I-95 South. Baptized without God.

5:33 am. Friday morning.

Google Maps signals 17 minutes to destination. Smooth ride, cruising down I-95 South. Truckers, insomniacs, and DK listening to Audible, his book on tape. More Terry Tempest Williams, her new book, Erosion: Essays of Undoing.  Terry’s way in my head, and beyond, and yes, we’re on a first name basis now. “Our undoing is also our becoming. I have come to believe this is a good thing.”

The Heads-up Display on the windshield flashes alert: Object ahead on highway. It flashes an alert again. I tap the brakes.

A wind gust blows leaves across three lanes. I exhale.  Wonders of technology. Car warns you about objects on highway, or if you veer outside your lane. I’m listening to books on tape, beamed from the cloud. GPS tells me how long to the office. And I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday.

The car wobbles over uneven pavement. 4000 pounds of car, wearing grooves into the asphalt, with my back and forth 4-5 days a week.

Read somewhere from a survey that 85% of us wished to travel more.  And that one in 10 Americans surveyed say they have no interest in going anywhere.  Welcome readers, to Me, I’m on top of this stack of 10.

Terry continues narrating her book, and my mind drifts in and out of her soothing cadence.  And an aha moment lights it up for me. Why I so love being in the top 0.01% of this 10%. Why travel is not for me, with its long security lines, dirty restrooms, crowded cabins, delays on tarmacs, waiting for luggage and snarly traffic to and from and at tourist hotspots.  Why camping out right here, immersed in my head, and swept away in my thoughts, to anyplace, anywhere, at anytime, is still the most wonderful road trip of all.

Here, Great Salt Lake is a vast mirror of water. A shin-high line of sea foam forms a gateway to the silky pink waters so shallow that the salt reefs are visible like white coral. I shed my clothes and enter the body of Great Salt Lake. I walk in water knee-deep and warm until gradually, maybe half a mile out, the lake reaches my chin. I lean forward and surrender to the depths and allow myself to be held by Great Salt Lake, buoyed by this body of water that I have loved all my life. I float on my back, gazing up at the sky in the most joyous state, bliss married to awe. I am of this place. My body and the body of this lake are one. I have surpassed my mother’s age when she died. I am approaching my grandmother’s age when she mentored me in birds. Great Salt Lake continues to show me the cyclical nature of things. And yet always there is the paradox. Although much has changed in this octave of time between flood and drought, the essence of the land and my own essence remain the same. Without thought, I baptize myself by the authority vested in me, not God, not the patriarchy, with only the lake as my witness. My immersion is complete.

And my immersion is complete. I’ve never actually visited the Great Salt Lake, and yet I have, in its most pristine state, courtesy of Terry Tempest Williams. Walking in warm, salt water until it reaches my chin. Then floating on my back gazing at the sky.

So, yes, I’m perfectly damn content occupying this 50 square mile radius around Home, where I exist most of my seven days a week.

Travel? You can have it.

My mind may be a treacherous neighborhood, but Dear God, grant me a week, made up of seven, consecutive Saturday mornings.

At home.

In my Head.

Never Alone.

And always ready…

to travel wherever this Mind wishes to take me next.


Photo: Great Salt Lake by Tucapel

Comments

  1. Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.
    — Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Are you saying you wouldn’t want your week of 7 Saturdays in Paris? Paris for sake of an example.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t help but picturing you filling your tub, mixing in some salt and then imagining yourself at Great Salt Lake.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Time alone, so misunderstood are “quiet” people. Either thought to be depressed or obnoxious. I’m rarely lonely, often misunderstood. My father was this way, now my son. People thought my father was tortured and unable (he was an alcoholic, either sullen or violent) and now my intellect son, so quiet. I wish I’d had more conversations with my father, thank God I get to understand my son, don’t push so hard to have him tell me, just watch as he is learning to be himself. Different, quiet. (Apologies for the long comment. You’ve just clarified for me that my son is good.)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Huh? News to me. I have a long list of places I want us to visit. And not just in my imagination.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. no limits on your cranial and aortic travel. there you were born with an enhanced license and passport to the universe.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Wonderful post, David. Admittedly, I enjoy the destination way more than the journey. The journey, with all its hassles, restrictions and borders, can be overrated. Unless you have a good book in hand, that is. Happy Saturday at home!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hmm.. does listening to a book’s audiotape stop one from swearing at crazy drivers and/or from wondering almost every time if they got the memo on intersections?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Reading is just another way to travel, isn’t it? Probably a lot safer too. And the places you can go are endless.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ll take seven consecutive Saturdays too.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s funny. I love to travel. The journey there becomes a thing of the past once I’ve reached said destination. It’s all in how you look at it, I say. If you bitch and complain, you will attract issues. We had a crazy problem once coming back from a cruise. My husband and older son were beside themselves. I just went with it. Not like I had any control over the situation! I don’t know where this zen-ness has come from, to be honest. Was not always so!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh I’m with you about travel! But it’s definitely not being in my head or my Crazy thoughts! My favorite place to be is in nature. 💚 The sway of the trees, the wind gently moving across my face and how it reveals again and again the silence in me. Thats heaven for me 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is the bleached-bone veritas of the Colorado Plateau. We stand on the edge of an erosional landscape looking out. The curvature of the Earth becomes our home range. The silence before us is time. We feel how small we are in the embrace of geologic relief… Watching light captured and held within the pastel pinnacles of Bryce Canyon in shades of pink, orange, and yellow—all these weathered places show us we are merely humans, soft, humble, and temporary.

      ~ Terry Tempest Williams, Erosion: Essays of Undoing (Sarah Crichton Books, October 8, 2019)

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m with you pal (albeit late – we lost connectivity for two days which has been very strange)…though I wonder if it’s not because I traveled so much and now enjoy the tether that keeps me en route while still at home

    Liked by 1 person

  14. As much as I love to travel, I love to come home even more … and, even better, have a few days to just plunk down, simmer my soups, read my books, answer my own questions and just be.

    Thought-provoking post, as always!

    MJ

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Yes, yes, I, too have concluded that I’m no fan of travel. It’s just no fun anymore, with all the lines and TSA and the crowds and the horrible food in airports and no food on the plane, even bad food. Long flights, long lines, less room in seats. And don’t get me started on driving state through state through state … but how else to stay in touch with those we love? 🤯 I love Terry Tempest Williams, by the way; interviewed her years ago, face-to-face. Good energy, that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Don’t feel like commenting now – after a long, long day of travelling…. But I have great news too: My Eleanor and her elephant arrived while I was away – might have to add a few more hours to my 24h of today! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. 🙂

    Like

  18. Your Mind is the uber-traveller. You are the mental equivalent of the guy who just topped the last of the 7 highest peaks in the world in 6 months (previous record 8 years). No need for you to waste time in flying tin cans, DP. Keep on trekking across the literary and cultural plateaux!

    Liked by 1 person

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