The older I get, the more I enjoy road trips, and the longer they take, which is my own doing–meandering back roads, seeking shade, instead of speed, and not only because I prefer the old car with the manual transition–which lost its air condition earlier this month (but I don’t mind the mountain air on my face)–but also because I prefer the solitude of back roads–the absence of movement, except for mine, the chance to slow or stop, when my attention alights—on an old barn, a field of wildflowers, a stand of trees; and this afternoon on my serpentine ride home from Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health–two young boys, about 9 years old, on the outskirts of a small town, dressed in matching soccer uniforms.
As I approached, the one with the ball under his arm, looked up from beneath a mass of dark curls and stuck out his thumb.
I smiled and slowed and waived, remembering the pleasure of wondering where my thumb might take me one day, and how soon someone might take me, seriously, and something else–the delight of coaxing a friend outside the box of rules.
After college, a classmate and I hitchhiked through Ireland despite the warnings of lorry drivers and the middle aged bachelor and the two business men who picked us up so that no harm would befall us.
Back in the states, I picked up hitchhikers myself for a bit–once an entire family, at the foot of the drawbridge, standing in a pouring rain. They crowded into my backseat, dripping, paper grocery bags in their arms.
There’s plenty of room for thought on a long drive under the shade of trees…
I got to thinking that I might like to open a store or suggest someone open a store, and it could be called–Paper and Ink–and it could be a place to slow down, to pour a cup of tea, to buy a sheet of stationery and sit at a long table, and write a letter, and send it to someone far away or around the corner.
Just now, a song from my childhood comes to mind…
Traveled by many, remembered by few
Lookin’ for something that I can believe in
Lookin’ for something that I’d like to do with my life
Something that might have been true yesterday
Tomorrow is open, right now it seems to be more than enough
To just be here today…