Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Car Travel: In Time and Out of Time

A week ago, I'd have already been on the road for several hours.  I had trouble sleeping, as I often do when I'm embarking on a trip in the morning.  I was on my way by 2:30 a.m.  Along the way, when I started to feel a bit sleepy, I'd pull over to a rest area and close my eyes for a few minutes--it's amazing what a difference a 15-20 minute nap makes.

I often leave the South Florida area early so that I can avoid the rush hour traffic.  It's wonderful being on the road with just a few other cars and trucks--it doesn't happen often down here.

There is a time, just before dawn, when I'm tired of straining against the dark.  But then the light starts to stain the sky, and I'm awake to see it.

Sure, I'm often awake before dawn.  But I'm inside, writing, on most days.  I'm not noticing the external landscape.

One of the things I love about traveling is that I am more often in the present moment.  I'm untethered from electronics and chores and work duties and all the things which pull my mind away from the person in front of me.

Driving a car alone on a long trip is also a great way of moving into a timeless state.  There's a presence required to be in the car on a road with other traffic.  But the brain is also free to float along different currents of time.

Alas, I haven't found a way to preserve that presence of a retreat mind.  Happily, yesterday was a slower day at work, so my re-entry wasn't too bad.  Still, I feel the stress of work that wasn't getting done when I was away, plus the end-of-the-semester grading that must be done for my online classes.

I remind myself that it's a gift, after all.  I have a job, while lots of Americans are underemployed or unemployed.  Even the most onerous job task is not as bad as what people deal with when they're suffering a serious illness.  And there are moments throughout the day when I can read a poem or write to a friend.

Time to launch the day!

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