Saturday, October 10, 2015


I recently backtracked across the country, laden with the sum of my worldly possessions, and learned several things, some important and some as irrelevant as the direction of the toilet paper on the holder. When you drive long distances by yourself, you tend to vocalize your thoughts to yourself. There is something about listening to yourself talk that crystallizes the important stuff in your awareness; and the unimportant things get stored away for future conversations, or future blogs. So, I will chronicle all of my self-spoken, self-heard epiphanies that transpired during my journey.

First off, I would like to start with the important things. About midway in my journey, I realized that no one lives in Wyoming. It was simply placed where it is to provide dangerous routes for people driving alone. I guess it could be described as a purging pit for those with no attention span; although that is actually not true. Whether your brain is empty of any cogent thought, or, it is filled with imaginative thoughts, created to deal with the emptiness of the place, it is an equally dangerous place when trying to pay attention at 90mph. Given my current opinion, that the only difference between one state and another is the colors of the bovines they raise, Wyoming does serve as an important marker in the cross-country drive.

Moving on to Lame Deer, Montana, where I realized that not all men are treated as equals, two more life-altering realities were revealed. It was here that I realized that wi-fi is not a Native American right. It was only after arriving at the right coast, that I realized that the only place I passed through, that might be correctly described as an internet dead-zone, was the North Cheyenne reservation at Lame Deer and its environs. This fully explained to me why the only Native Americans on Facebook are those with internet access at beauty pageants. Secondly, you cannot buy American Spirits on the reservation. This may be due to one of several factors. As the cigarette rack was the emptiest shelf in the General Store, it is entirely possible that I was deprived of my preference due to the universe's reticence to provide me color (years ago, I arrived at the Painted Desert on the only day it had rained in twenty years. It was less than inspiring). Or perhaps, with no internet on the reservation, copious consumption of tobacco products helps fill the day. Or maybe, it is simply some inter-tribal conspiracy against the interloper Cheyenne, who, as far as I know, never had any territorial connection to Montana. In any event, I had to buy Marlboros.

Continuing, there are more horse-drawn Amish wagons than there are cars on Route 20 in Indiana. And unlike their Pennsylvania brethren, they may even wave to you, if you wave to them as you pass. I think they may be nicer.

Moving on to the less important things. I used to believe that the permanence of a connection to place, was one of the most important factors in a human being's happiness. It may be up there, but it is our connection to people, in whatever region, that makes life worth living. Often times, people will tell you that family is most important, but that cannot be true; there are too many families that suck. It is simply the connections we make in life, the family we create, and sometimes, the family we hoped to create. When I became bored of talking to myself, I found myself talking to her. She was my constant companion. There was no point in my journey when I wasn't struck by a desire to share it with her. It began the moment I left her house, and continues, even after I arrived; the little wayside with the wooden bridge over the river in the Cascades (I had to stop), the bathrooms in Bend, the awesomeness of the high desert (a place of deep connection), the strangeness of Idaho, the splendor of Yellowstone, the changing colors of cows and avians, the black of the Black Hills and the Amish and the smiling waitress in Indiana, the state trooper who pulled me over for being too close to a truck that wasn't there, the congestion of Chicago and Cleveland, the green of the Mohawk and Hudson valleys, and everything else I am forgetting to mention. I wish we could go collecting rocks and driftwood, build more sculpture in the Pacific sand, find the marbled murrelet, taste her, smell her, listen to her, learn about her day. I want everything about her, the clean and the messy. I wish I could have the time to convince her I can dream AND plan. I feel connected to Oregon like no place I have ever lived, but it is her that cemented that connection. It is her, waiting for her sadness to lessen, that will draw me back. I want to take her to the fair.

He needs me, and I need him. It is that little man that will hold me here in this place that once felt like home, but feels slightly alien now. I am happy to be here, to share the time he has left here, before he moves on. It is where I want to be, for now.

Sometimes, life is euphoric, and sometimes it is sad. Sometimes, it can be both. I wake up every day choosing to be happy. Talking to her everyday helps make it all right. LY^2!!!!!!



Andy said...

Is this:, you?
It just seems so similar.

Lawrence Schwartz said...

No, but it begs the question: where have you been? Hope all is well

Andy said...

Nowhere exciting. Just here but not able to write much. Couldn't find it in me. All is well, thanks. And with you?