Monday, March 30, 2009

A Thousand Miles Later

A week and a thousand miles later. A little bit of road weariness, but not too bad. We drove 420 miles Saturday. I spared Roger the worst of the trip by driving north through Orange, LA, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. It's 180 miles of split second, gut-wrenching, never-take-your-eyes-off-the-road highway. I drove 80 mph in the diamond lane (carpool, two or more passengers) through the worst of it. Still it's insanely intense to drive that fast with other cars hurdling past you on every side at the same or faster speeds. I distinctly recall three moments when it occurred to me that I had drifted in thought away from the highway and driving. It startled me to slip back in and wonder what the heck I was thinking. You know that feeling? How long had I been gone? Was I writing a haiku in my head? A blog post? Imagining some bird? What was it that lured me from that careening lull of speed? I don't know. Gone and back in an instant, like some kind of time traveler.

On the trip south through the Salinas Valley, there were thousands of butterflies crossing the maniac highway. There was no way to not hit them. I can't tell you how many times I viscerally dodged their bodies as they slammed into the windshield. It was brutal. I wished I had a way to not hit them as we drove. There was nothing we could do, and five days later, on the way north they were still emerging. Had we had all the time in the world and my mom not waiting for us, we could have postponed the journey, but there we were.

My mom is doing fairly well considering the rough year she has had. It was so good to be there with her, cooking nutritious meals and having grand conversations. Roger and I made sure that we took good walks everyday. Luckily the Western Bluebirds and Yellow-rumped Warblers were out and about thrilling us with their flashes of brilliant colors. When we showed my mom the photos, she couldn't believe what beauty there was all around her. She told me, after we drove home, that she spent Saturday afternoon on her deck listening to the birds in the trees, marveling how wonderful it was to know they were there.

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