the empty time, the road, the endless pavement churning
minds exploring depths of a book, the skip
of a song,
road-trip games, the aimless staring out windows
and just like that, poof, your thoughts
are gone, untethered,
floating up and out, right through the panes, over
the cars, the passer-bys, the outstretched
highways, up, up,
into the formless sky,
the open land.
you are free.
/ / /
isn't this why we love roadtrips? the destination, yes, but the journey, too--this unplugged time in the car for our minds to float away, for our thoughts to unfurl?
i don't usually photograph in the car-- not the most inspired environs-- but felt compelled to, this trip.
we were taking Nahch kayaking for Father's Day, so photographing the destination wasn't possible (camera + water = no bueno) or even the point. we spend so much of our time as a family in the car, i wanted to document it.
as i took the photos, my own childhood road trips percolated to the surface: road trip games with my sis of counting graveyards or cows in the fields. the landscape was different then: Southern, verdant, open fields. in my children's urban views, they would forever remain at point zero waiting to spot a cow out the window. so we count different things. but the tradition and sentiment remain: the family stories, the song-singing, my sister correcting all my "megan-isms" when i would mistake the lyrics. and if i doubted the generational link, i hear satine in the back, confirming it for me as she corrected navia, "that's not how it goes, navia, that's not what the song says..."
i remember the empty time to let my mind wander and wonder, to think of nothing and everything... i love my children having the same. it is why I will endure a thousand "i'm bored's" and refuse a screen in their faces, because i know ten minutes in, the open road will deliver it's own form of sweet nothingness, and sweet everything.
the southern california freeway uncurls before us, its flaccid gray-brown stretched out in criss-crossed tentacles to carry us forward, a mother octopus swimming in a sea of terrible roadside attractions: billboards, rambling cars, the urban, industrial bleakness... yet from behind the lens, my sight for this "ugly" landscape was reinvigorated. it hit me anew in fresh detail: the rounded, bulbous form of a bridge, the perfect grid of boxcars, the sturdy dignity of a fence, the organic form of a barbed wire.
could there possibly be beauty in this bleakness, in this mundane urban detritus? maybe. i guess that is in the eye of the beholder... you will have to decide for yourself as you view the photos below. but really, finding beauty is not the point, either-- it is in the search for it, it is in the act of trying to see, anew. shoot it, don't embellish it, then stand in the face of it, and see if it's enough. (uh...hello, metaphor for life.)
the beauty is in connecting the dots from my childhood, to theirs. beauty is in the unfolding into the day, into the open road.
i reach across to hold my husband's hand. he squeezes back, and we settle into a melodious silence, a mellowed richness beyond thinking. we are open. we are free.