It is a long one, the drive home. One of solitude and thoughts which in the chaos of college can be a healthy dose of peace.
I passed the adventures and mysteries that sat on either side of the highway. I know these drives so well from one road, the road home. I know by heart all the stops I’ve marked with possibility until home overtook them. It felt good to be in the graces of my Colorado Rockies for at least a minute. Then off to the desert, and that seems to be where this story starts.
I finally got a chance to breathe, to get away from the insanity that dragged me down back in Montana. Everyone asks the kids, how is college? We respond with happy smiles, “Great”.
And it is great, but it is also hard. You really want to say “Well, I feel like I got ran over by a semi full of squealing chickens, then spun around five thousand times in a teapot while drinking tea, then forced to run six ultra marathons.” One of those was up Everest, you think, but cannot really remember. Of course parts of it were great and fun, and yes, there were a few near death experiences, but you are here now.
But I fell down a rabbit hole, and life tripped me into it. I fell far away from my truth. Chaos will do that. I fell into lies even if some were tainted with truth.
The scars from this year are almost healed as if telling me it’s time to come back to life.
No, I do not regret it. Creating beauty from monstrosity is art, and I made it into a Mona Lisa. We try, fail, and learn.
I thought another person could empower me instead of empowering myself. But as I sat in the middle of nowhere, between Utah and Colorado, I knew this chapter was over. And that is okay. Okay to leave this story behind for my own.
So I wake my soul back up, sending shivers down my spine.
I am back in the car with my father driving, spinning up past the red rock canyons on John Brown Road. We race the sunset as we pass the gnarled juniper and cow grates. The wheels round a corner and the sky opens up. We roll faster. The brakes squeal for the stubborn calves running like kamikaze pilots towards the car as if it was their angel of deliverance. We finally turn enough to arrive at Dolores Point.
The tires roll out to the edge of this point, named after the river so far below. I look over into the west.There lay the canyons and mesas that my soul flies highest in: desert country. To the east, lay the rocky mountains I call home.
On this point juxtaposed between home and adventure – two places I so often feel torn between – the sun lets down its draperies on the emerald mesa’s, streaming through the rain clouds.
The junipers light afire with the fading day. As I examine the light through my lens, clicking away at the beauty, I think of the confusion that clouded my mind these past months, the fear I have been living in.
Fear of loss, failure, and regret. The fear that paralyzed these same feet that dance joyfully close to the edge of the mesa.
I kick my sandals off despite the cactus. They inch over the sandstone absorbing its rough texture.
In the next hour the sky puts on a show better than fourth of July fireworks. My mesa turns into an island in an ocean of sunset colored canyons. My eye reaches far, absorbing the lavender Rosa Champagne.
I sit and watch.
The wind tears out the doubt and fear. In this in between time, neither day or night, in between place, neither of my home’s, in between existence holding my soul captive, neither in love or alive – I finally felt at peace. I almost hear the thwump as the desert sinks me back into myself. The sun falls into the ocean of canyons and mesas. I think then is when I left nowhere land, when I climbed out of the rabbit hole, when I came back to life.
As the sun and clouds began their last dance, we climbed into the car.
Journey’s electric guitar spilled out of the windows onto the mesa as we sped down an old run way. We stuck our arms out either side of the car.
Smiling, my father said, “get ready for take off.”
I was ready.