Wednesday, November 13, 2019. I took a road trip a couple weeks ago. It was on a whim, really.
It was a Tuesday, and I’d been emailing back and forth with my cousin in Wyoming. I mentioned I was hoping to drive to Mesquite to visit her folks in the spring. She said to let her know when and she would meet me there.
It got me to thinking, why wait until spring? The weather forecast was clear. I had no appointments. No obligations. I was feeling good. I hadn’t been on a road trip in over a year. I had the itch, and I decided to scratch it.
I emailed my cousin, and said I was thinking about leaving on Thursday and to mull over meeting me there. In record time she emailed me back to say there was nothing to mull over. She would leave the next day.
So, at 530 on Thursday morning I hit the road for Mesquite. I decided not to go the faster, more straightforward route that would take me through San Francisco, Bakersfield, Henderson and Las Vegas. Instead I chose to go through Reno on I-80 then venture south on NV-439 which took me through towns like Yerington, Coaldale, Tonopah and Coyote Springs.
On the way there, I drove straight through. There were lots of twists and turns, and what seemed like endless straight stretches through open range where you had to keep a watchful eye for grazing cattle. There were areas where the speed limit was 45 mph in deference to the wild horses of which I saw many. Still another had flashing signs warning of a major sheep crossing.
I also drove past Area 51 with its warning signs and giant alien statue towering above and in front of the souvenir shop.
When I got to Mesquite, 14 hours later, my aunt and uncle and cousin were waiting outside in the dark, welcoming me with shouts and laughter and crazy love. As exhausted as I was I jumped out of my car, gave massive hugs and kisses all around, and then jumped up and down in unbridled glee.
It was an amazing journey, and in retrospect a metaphor for the wild and crazy ride I have been on the last 14 months with all the twists and turns and deadly warning signs. It wasn’t an easy route. The long straight stretches were reminiscent of all my waiting and wondering and introspection. Area 51…well no explanation is necessary for that. The incredibly warm and love-filled welcome and shouts of genuine affection and relief that prevailed when I finally arrived, reminded me of all of you who have supported me and loved me and encouraged me and told me with genuine, unbridled affection I would make it.
And I did. I’m still here.
Just where you are—that’s the place to start. —Pema Chödrön