Friday, November 11, 2016

Highway 30 East: A Traveler Haunted by Ghosts

Memory lane, A long poignant journey

It was a long ride to Lake Catherine in Northwest Arkansas. I was very melancholy most of the way. Having the hours of time to myself allowed me to remember several eras of my life that passed on the same highway.

When I first came to Texas, the only sunny day of three days driving from New Jersey was in Little Rock, Arkansas. I remember watching the highway pass by, the hawks on fences, the future unknown ahead of me and home too far behind.

There was an unfamiliarity about the highway that made it an adventure. I enjoyed the new landscape, the long open road and the fleeting freedom of having no responsibilities; I was only18.

Over the last few decades I’ve driven this way to Beavers’ Bend, a trip the whole family enjoyed. I was in my twenties, we would bring our huskies, go fishing, my stepfather was always so excited about getting away, it was a special place for all of us.

I remember hot chocolate and autumn weekends in a small cabin. My oldest was twelve, before all the adolescent drama and crisis, we had so much fun, made so many memories.

Another trip, my brother and his new wife joined us with their niece. We stayed in Hot Springs on the spur of the moment decision. It was a time when we did things, we went places, we were all together.

I drove by the Crater of Diamonds and I thought for a moment of stopping to visit. I couldn’t bare the idea of being there without my son. It was one of the most recent trips where we fished for trout and visited several caverns in the area; I felt his absence.

All those hours on this same highway: Interstate 30 heading east. All the conversations, the laughter and all the stupid arguments I can’t even recall now. There are so many ghosts on this highway and I am haunted.

Now I’m alone, everyone is involved in their own lives, my oldest is out of town, my youngest is working. I am lonely and yet I seek a moment, call it a time out. I feel like I am playing hooky from my life, I’m unemployed, even with the freelance work, I feel like should be out there looking but this time is necessary.

The next chapter of my life is waiting to be explored, maybe I just need to gather my thoughts, gather my treasures, it’s a melancholy feeling but I’m sure I’ll get used to it. For now, I just need to write it down…

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