Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Road Ahead

Valuing the journey equally to the destination is challenging because most journeys are borne of the desire to reach a final destination. After that destination has been determined the course of the journey plays out as anticipation of the destination. I’ve tried to keep the destination of my journey vague so that I may more fully enjoy the journey. I know where I’ll be in 2 months and I know where I’ll be in 5 months but I didn’t know where I’d be tonight until this morning.
Where I ended up is at the edge of the continent on the outer banks of North Carolina. I sit here and watch a storm roll in from the west. Below the roiling of the flashing clouds the Bodie Island lighthouse ticks off a steady beacon to me and ships watching the storm from the sea. To the east a nearly full moon rises between more gently drifting clouds. The dunes that the moon reveals in silhouette buzz with insects relegated to the safety of their sandy burrows to avoid the winds of the coming storm.
I awaken before 5 to strangely artificial sounds that have emerged as the insect noise has died down; a mirror hung placard tapping my windshield, a towing chain swinging, a flap wrapping on the window of my neighbor’s camper. As the horizon in front of me begins to thaw to a pale blue I see Mars and Jupiter rising side by side just over the clouds out at sea. Jupiter, the larger and brighter, is farther away. Mars, small and dirt red, is almost lined up between me and Jupiter. Stretched out before me is a road half a billion miles long with planetary signposts along the way. To get to the end, I’d have to jump over the rising Sun. Mars and Jupiter drown in the red that floods the horizon; the celestial road vanishes and the terrestrial road comes to life and I am on it again.

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