August 3, 2011

How We Go, When We Go

It has been a very busy summer, which is quite honestly ridiculous, as I have been neither working nor in school. At the outset I told myself that I would do Bonnaroo, visit California, and go to Nevada for the Air Sailing contest. The first is the only thing on that list that I've managed to do. And yet, I feel I've winnowed away the time in three day increments. Three days here, three days there, occasionally punctuated by a week long sojourn on Gwynn's Island. Between visitors and visits, I find myself in August, less than a month away from the start of my second year of graduate school. I visited my Yankee relatives in Pennsylvania over the weekend, stopping off in Springfield to pick up my youngest cousin, Marie (my mother's brother's daughter) before heading off to Pittsburgh, where my cousin David (her older brother) is enjoying the bizarre and fast-changing terrain of post-college life. Quite unexpectedly, I found myself in Ohio riding the second tallest roller coaster in the world. It was in Ohio that I realized that I'd never been to Ohio before, and I found myself mentally tallying the states I've visited since July of 2009, when I up and left California. What follows is that list.

Road Trip of Danger and Excellence, July 2009:

California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia

And I haven't seemed to slow down. In Virginia I lived, quiet and alone, and learned to recognize the trees. In Pennsylvania, I've slept in the bedroom my mother slept in as a child and trampled brilliant yellow leaves at my uncle's cabin in the autumn-lit Poconos. I've screamed upside down on roller coasters in Ohio and dressed as a pigeon at Jessica and Travis's Halloween-bedecked brownstone in Brooklyn. I've watched New Jersey and Delaware's backyards whip by from the window of the Acela, and cracked lobster in Maine. I've moved to DC and burnt brown under the dust-choked Tennessee sun, eyes trained to the stage, where the members of Old Crow Medicine Show stamp their feet. I have been tired and I have driven for eleven hours and I have flown and flown. I have grown to know the three hour drive to Gwynn's Island better than that to Santa Cruz from Fremont. I find I want to know this country and its cities and its hills, its deserts and softly sloping Eastern mountains. I used to wake nights in Santa Cruz with the most overwhelming urge to run, to step into my car and drive and drive until the past fell away. I am not running, I think. I am seeing.

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