For me, cars are vehicles of contemplation. Even as a child, I loved riding in the backseat, staring out the window. And since I became gas-pedal legal, I’ve loved driving. So naturally I arrived at my adult-age adoration for road trips – good music, good conversation, good scenery, horrible food.
Road trips are grounded. Moments are suspended between white and yellow, arriving at a place where pleasures are palatable, a place called present. The past is a rearview mirror – the windshield, the future. Presentness perpetuates – continual change coercing my mind inward, as the shifting scenery grounds me in the physical.
Sitting in the car the sun streams in the windows, massaging my brunette hair with warmth. My rolled down window tunes to the frequency of the whistling wind. And as the day or direction shifts, the sun blinds me – head on. But the light feels like a feather tickling my nose.
Though the road is linear and the trip is often from point a to b, all road trips feel cyclical. Thump. Thump. Thump. The wheels spinning and spinning against the pavement comfort me like a heartbeat to a child. I see the sun rise, ascend, summit, descend, set. The day is complete.
Traffic is the grim reaper of road trips. Gas prices are its villain cousin. I detest their robbing of travel as art.
As I’ve returned to rural – a place where hour drives are commonplace, half-hour drives are necessities and three hour drives one-way are still day trips – mini road trips are rebounding.
While it’s tempting to spend my time in the car irritated by the irrationally slow driver in front of me or the texting-while-driving psycho in my rearview, I’d rather spend them marveling at the beauty of movement, the warmth of a car on a sunny day, the present of a moment with little else to do but think.