On a Late Summer Road
Perhaps listen. Better, yet imagine.
You're driving wooded country roads at dusk just after summer rain. The pavement steams up ghosts from the ground. Your headlights reveal them, but shine through at the same time, letting you know something beyond lies where your manufactured sense of safety will take you.
You roll the windows down and turn the volume up on something no one would imagine you would listen to. Electronic, worldbeat rap. Just enough rattle in the door panels to massage your ankles. To siphon away where the stress lies in your body.
Negative ions flood the car and your lungs. You pedal down at the top of hills, without care for what could be just beyond their crest. The air heavies with moisture on your shoulders as you near the cradle between each hill. Newly paved double-yellow lines beyond the halogens serve as some odd trickery from Wizard of Oz.
The under-branches of trees react to the air you push. Much too fast for the speed limit signs that only hinder your experience. You imagine the leaves cheer you on as they wave your passing.
Your thoughts drift to when you held your first born. The fabric softener of baby blankets at 3am. The static blue-light of cable television filling the living room while your wife desperately grasped for sleep. How, by week five of it, you thought vines were growing from floor to ceiling and the outside seemed just as much inside. How you began to talk to rocks.
You should have known the woods would get a hold you eventually. But instead you lay awake at night for much of your 30's. The lilac bush just outside your bedroom window coaxing you to stand in your robe on the front yard in the moonlight, watering the grass with your piss. Each star a secret in reverse above. Suburban life like a Twinkie, agitated and resting on the shelf.
And when the second one arrived, he was a mirror of your intensity. Your rage. And the story continued to unfold. Sleepless nights under the moon, wondering if you had crossed the universe somehow. Made too many promises the morning after.
But you came to where you live now, in the forest of stories and rocks in the back yard, with all those vines and shadows, a different plan emerged. One that wasn't yours, in which you'd have to learn the continual nature of letting go.
Each bend in the road now sings of a test of rubber, steel and your weight on leather seats, warmed by a button because, well, why not in summer?
The song on the stereo changes, almost as if on cue, and you clear a grove of trees into an ocean of corn fields on either side. You're reminded that everything grows, and is then cut down if it doesn't fall on it own accord. Time is swift and cruel, and this second boy challenges you with all the might that a little body can muster.
You wonder if you have enough of time to teach him to swing his fists for the right cause? How every time you've doubted him or anything really, you're reminded in a subtle and gentle way, that everything must be let go. All must pass.
Standing in the way of movement is a subtle kind of suicide.
The rains will come and wash the dust from the windows of your house. The sun and trees will provide just enough shadows for you to see what you need. The planets will spin.
Each boy will, by their own accord. Find a way. And there's nothing aside from feeding or telling stories that you can do to change what was written for them. Much before their time. Much before yours.
And every atom of your car understands you in this moment. Holding the steering wheel, which is connected to the axels, which connects to the wheels, and then to the road. Each rotation propels you forward. Every rotation of wheels to road is, a touch of road to each wheel. Earth, in a unique chemical makeup, pushes you forward.
The faster you want to go, the faster earth wills it. What dreams can be had where the earth responds, even at the detriment of her being? This wonderment of sacrifice that ever mother knows in her heart.
Forests are cut to fields. Fields are leveled into developments. Generations decline, and developments regress into decay. Decay falls back into the ground. Vines reclaim each structure. Fields spread and grow into forests. For someone else to cut roads through.
For night speed.
What a wonderful, juvenile thrill acceleration is. What a wonderful, juvenile dream creation allows you to experience it in.
Dirt courses through all things. A cycle of all things. A birthright. Forever occurring. Your two boys, slashing through their lives with the innocence of reckless abandon. Drawing every bit of juice from you and your spouse, who is, at this moment waiting at home with the crickets and owls warring for sonic space in the trees beyond the living room window.
Cracked to allow the mist inside the house.
Your car cannot go fast enough. Rambling over driveway gravel like a scope into the chambers of the heart. You leave the engine running as you run up the front walkway. With the front door ajar, you kiss her while holding her jaw in your palms.
She'll ask how your day was.