On Monday I took a drive. Well, perhaps I should reword that. Lest it sound that I had the sudden impulse to explore the asphalt trails, I should probably mention that I had a concrete destination. So, starting over….
On Monday I took a drive to meet my mother. I took a drive anxiously, because I’ve never completely gotten used to the concept of piloting a hunk of metal at fast speeds. The act of driving somehow seems inherently dangerous and irresponsible. I had a CD in the player, NPR shows to listen to, but on impulse I decided to drive without the usual auditory distractions. This isn’t some rise to grace; I’m an easily distracted driver who would like to keep up my track record of not killing people (including myself) on the road. I was surprised by how quickly the silence became weighted and started to press down on my insides, so I rolled the windows halfway down. Then, another surprise. Things were moving.
I have a theory about winter that posits that we (I) are (am) miserable during winter because we spend the majority of it in fear of the outside. We huddle around fireplaces, inside carefully heated rooms where we can get blankets, duck under covers, and so on. Then, like animals, we wildly scurry from building to building and then we wonder why we are miserable during the winter season and I believe that is because the world feels dead to us during this time.
But things were moving. Trees were shifting uneasily, as if their roots had atrophied from disuse. Many of my own roots are atrophied from disuse, so I forgive them for their lack of grace. The grass was in the full swing of wind despite being dead. Sweet, slender, reanimated corpses – they did their best. And as strange and disturbing the muted colors of late winter were, it was all so beautiful. The crow supping at the median was beautiful. He walked leisurely in front of me as I drove, as if he was not afraid to die. The eighteen-wheeled truck that did not come to a full stop at an adjoining road was beautiful. The relative dearth of creatures not of feather and creatures of feather was (quietly) beautiful.
I met my mother, picked up the things she wanted to give over to my care, and drove home. The temperature was in the 50s and with the heaters fixed on my hands and feet it was as if I were a well-heated god, cutting through my least favorite season and finally making some progress since the warmth left. Things are moving. Things are moving. The temperature is lower now, but I have seen the future and it is moving.