Lost Things on the Highway
Lost things…lost people…moments and memories. It’s strange how sometimes a piece of time that is so important in a special moment gets drowned in your mind and then resurfaces. A trigger point gets touched and suddenly you’re transported thirty years back….into a old brick colored Ford that is driving through a pine and aspen filled canyon in Utah at sunset. The Moody Blues “Knights in White Satin” is playing on the radio. It was the end of autumn. The seats were warm and soft. I was sitting next to this beautiful 18-year-old boy and wishing that this moment could last, though I knew that it wouldn’t.Driving back from California last night at twilight, I was again in a canyon, surrounded by pines and aspen…a passenger counting the white lines. It was raining heavily and the highway was a dark, oily snake in our headlights. My husband and I had stopped in Colfax and bought hot coffee at the Starbucks. The smell of the pines mixed with the coffee and the rain swept air became heavy, crisp, chilly and intoxicating.
For one brief moment the sun shone through the clouds just enough to light the sky to a deep, angry pink. A flash of the something raced in my mind…Terry, a song, and the canyon. So long ago, I thought. In a swallow of coffee, the sky had changed and the colors inside and outside of my head were gone.
The drive to and from California does this to me every time. Maybe it is the forest or a combination of things, such as the rain or the smell of strong coffee on a cold night. Time passages.
The stretches of forest on Highway 88 (and 49, 120, 50 or 80) are beautiful and yet disturbing. Staring off into the thick woods, I wonder what lurks out there, past the low hanging branches and the misty thickets. My mind stirs the witch’s brew of images, words, years, and music, especially when I’m on the road. I see him standing under the dark bows. I wonder. The whine of the tires on asphalt, clicking past the fences and telephone poles all creating a music of it’s own….the song on the radio.