I came across this old piece of writing a few weeks ago. I wrote it when I was in college, and I posted it originally on (gasp) MySpace. I posted it on this day in 2007–the Wednesday before Thanksgiving on my drive home from college at Valdosta State University.
There are big changes happening in my life in the next month, and I’m not quite ready to write about them yet, but this spoke to me in a pretty serious way after the week I’ve had.
I left Valdosta today at 12:04 pm. It was hard to get a chicken sandwich. Cars were lined up and carrying their food away like giant, metallic ants. The new Taco Bell was busy. It looks too nice to serve pseudo-Mexican food. Track two begins to play on a new mixed-CD: a Coldplay song I’ve heard only once before, but a song I think I will like.
The trees vary their colors from crown to crown more consistently the farther north I drive. Browns, oranges, and yellows begin to replace the greens and light greens of south Georgia as the music plays on. I’m driving back against the direction of the ray, back toward my past. I’m driving away from my present, my future. I’m driving my metallic ant, my machine of modernity–traveling down this wooded hallway shaded by the colors of Nature’s last, fleeting breaths: the penultimate sigh of Her life before the cold choke-hold strangles the last bit of Her color out.
Three dogs stand beside the highway, at the edge of a cotton patch already picked over, watching traffic and catching their collective breath. I wonder where they’ve come from and where they’re going. I wonder if they are trotting back against their history, or moving toward something greater. I wonder if their next meal will come from a dish or a hunt. There seems to be a freedom in not knowing.
The final track has played on the CD and I’m nearing the end-point of my drive. In a few days I’ll turn around and make the same trip in reverse, back toward the future, toward uncertainty: not knowing if I’ll eat from a dish or if it will require more effort than just sitting down at the table.
There isn’t much left for me in this town: some friends, some memories, and some comfort. I love the time I spend here with the ones who nurtured me in my youth. It is truly refreshing. Soon, though, I will be back south, where the trees don’t die as quickly, and there I will live in the uncertainty–not knowing where I will end up or what cotton field I will be standing at the edge of catching my breath.
Today I made a similar drive–this time from north Georgia. But I still drove back into my past. Soon, though, I’ll drive into my future in a way I never have. I know more today about those cotton fields, and I can’t wait to run through them.
Have a nice weekend, folks. Happy Thanksgiving. Be safe during your Back Friday adventures. We’ll talk soon.