From the Road, 10/1-10/4/2015

The scene opens with our protagonist crackling sheets of seaweed snacks into her mouth, chewing complicatedly, absentmindedly, as she hurtles down the highway to PANTyRAiD’s firm beat.

She has passed countless hours this month, this year, just like this – with the miles ticking away as steadily as the unfaltering bass. From PA to New England, New York, and back in one weekend; from PA to Cincinnati and back the next. Gone! – this weekend – again, and all over, journal and camera at the ready.

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(10/1/15) – PA to Rockport, Massachusetts

8:56a – The corn husk of my tamale catches the air out the car window, sails high, and flutters slowly downwards into a matching pile of leaves along the edge of Martin Gap Road – a good start to the day.

9:57a – Among the variegated greens and golds of the passing wooded mosaic – matted by sky and framed by the sides of mountains and I-80 – great, bright, jagged flashes of orange and coral spark like shards of lighted fire through windows in the dark.

10:58a – When you are forever on the road, the places that seem familiar start to stretch and expand. The bend around a rocky pass; the stains of the passenger seat; the comical names at creek-crossings zigzagged over bridges that ice before roadways; the Panera restroom at exit 232 with its smell of barely burned bread blended with bleach.

12:51p – Crossing into NY state on I-84, you begin the diagonal slant of spine along the Hudson, up and down each hill of notch and bump, a ridged backbone along the rushing water.

2:59p – Gas stations are the homes of seltzer water and American flags.

3:20p – New England this minute at the onset of autumn is perfect, gloomy, grey skies; crisp, cutting air; and maniacal, terrible drivers caught in tragic traffic.

3:42p – These uncontrollable black birds in amorphous flocks that flutter and warp and clump en bulbous mass remind me of the shadows of tree boughs that blow across walls and scatter like leaves in a strong wind.

5:37p – North of Boston after nearly nine hours in the car, I rolled open the window despite the damp cold, hoping the chill would revive me. The fresh scent of salty water across some unknown stretch of distance is even better. 

6:13p – End of day in Rockport, Massachusetts.

(10/2/15) – Rockport to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

9:32a – Leaving Gloucester – established 1623 – and leaving and thinking on friends  – some old and some very new – drives home the thought that there is not enough – never enough – time. I might choose immortality. 

12:15p – Enclosed in the glass and green metal aquarium that is my car, I wait protected from the gusting wind and smattering rain in my slot on the Woods Hole-Vineyard Haven ferry. Like dogged, industrious bees, the ferry attendants buzz around in bright yellow slickers to prep us for the wet ride. The horn blows, gently audible under the howling wind, and we begin to skim across the whitecapped water. Rough ups and pounding downs make my head feel suddenly pressurized when gales at the edge of Hurricane Joaquin hit us from the side and cause clanging metal to creak somewhere outside the car. I put on the e-break as we shift and knock, willing myself not to puke up my breakfast of granola and gas station coffee out of pure fear at the idea of exiting my bubble to lean over the listing side of the ferry. UP and DOWN; UP and DOWN; UP and DOWN aches the boat. UP and DOWN; UP and DOWN; UP and DOWN groans my stomach. I exhale long and stare out the passenger window into the deep teals and steel greys of the sea and sky, which are blending in the mist of the choppy horizon. Queasy still, I shut tight my eyes and note that at least I’m parked near a life buoy, should it come to that.

5:24p – Best chowder of my life. No contest. Local scallops also full of good tastes. 

6:09p – I am watching the ocean hurl curling waves of sea along the edge of the road out of Oak Bluffs. The crests of arcing water fan out and seem to clutch helplessly at the rocks along the road without grasping anything before they recede. 

(10/3/15) – On Martha’s Vineyard

9:34a – I have eaten alone in a lot of diners lately. Strong coffee and hot sauce on eggs make you feel alive and ready for nearly anything – including 5o mph punching winds.

(10/4/15) – Martha’s Vineyard to Brooklyn, NY to Huntingdon, PA

8:20a – Yesterday was scenic and beautiful and heartwarming. I will definitely return to Martha’s Vineyard sometime soon. This morning, we awoke at 5a after four hours of sleep. I was groaning and groggy, but as soon as I stepped out into the dark, the rushing, gusting wind and salt spray blasted me into consciousness. On the ferry, the sun undid the blues and blacks of the sky, casting a blaring golden gleam over everything. Rays rained in vectors illuminating ship and coast and mind. Everything is light and wind and all of us are alive! . . . Now I’m invigorated and in a diner in Falmouth, listening to all the cacophony of coastal Mass. accents. Sitting across from me is a potential me, in a future life in 30 years, a me as a vivacious grey-haired lady with big earrings and a scarf and sweater, reading a book alone in a diner at 8a. In this life, we ordered the same thing.

Cue “Simpsons” music.

1:26p – It is so surreal sometimes to visit the places you’ve already lived.

9:28p – Slicing west through the crisp, gorgeous night, I glanced right to notice the spots of salt left on my passenger sideview mirror – a memorable obstruction to recall the roiling ocean that splashed at it for two straight days.

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In the past half a year since my last post, much is different.

However – and always, it seems – I am still traveling like a fiend, a highway hound, a blur of a lady with wild hair and too many necklaces beaming down the road in green wheels. I put more miles on my car this year than ever before, which is saying something considering the dozens of times I’ve driven cross-country.

Soon I’ll be more stationary and will begin the hefty process of blogging the backload, but that’s a month away yet, and I’ve miles to go before I sleep.

See you on the flip-side. Be well, loves.

– SAW

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