Update from the road. Weatherford, TX, day 24.
Oh, I see how it is going to be. This trip is just NOT going to hack it. Every place I visit, I wish I could stay about ten times as long. I thought fifty days to go from point A (Bellingham, WA) to point B (Conway, NH) was luxurious, but now I see it affords me only a brief preview of each place. Up until Flagstaff, I was in known territory, so I was still only engaged surficially, going from favorite coffee shop to favorite store. I didn’t know I was surficial then. I discovered this in contrast with what’s happening now. I feel I have descended down into the nitty-gritty earthy real world. I have put on my own skin suit and pushed the “engage Life” throttle fully forward. I am suddenly faced with a smorgasbord of experiences and I feel like a thru-hiker at an all-you-can-eat buffet with only one small plate and a limited feeding time. Yeah, it’s rough!
I’m not even talking about life-altering experiences, though there were a few. I’m talking about the small yet constant magical moments. Driving into Texas, I wrote down a few notes about what originally struck me about this place. Yes, I did this while driving. I do a lot of things while driving, but you would too if you were in your truck as much as I am (I was noticing yesterday the amount of time I spend brushing my teeth while driving. I might not shower as often as the average settled bear, but I’ll tell you what, my teeth are way cleaner than theirs). So these are some of the things I noted:
– Oil fields. In my experiencial non-analytical state I can actually appreciate the stark and surreal beauty of these fields. I love the … don’t know what they are called … little mechanical robots dipping their heads in cadence and coming up with a filament of oil, or however it works. They look like strange birds at the beach digging for clams. Next to a few are large trucks with big wheels and men with dogs and cowboy hats. It looks like a scene from a bygone era, except it isn’t bygone at all, it is thriving. Far in the distance, behind the oil are fields of windmills. Some of the oil rigs have solar panels. My brain couldn’t figure this out. I just enjoyed the contrast.
– Manly men. I drove by a giant oil tanker truck on which sat a handsome young man in jeans and white-wife beater shirt. He was perched on the edge of the tank doing sit-ups, hands behind the neck and feet lodged under the ladder to the top of the tank. I enjoyed that scene very much. And I am not the only one gawking around here. From the moment I drove into Texas, I have become beautiful. I’ve been checked out, whistled at and flirted with. Eat your heart out politically-correct sensitive west, I have found the land of paternalistic objectification and am loving it.
– God. It wasn’t shown on my map, but I think somewhere south a few hours out from Sedona, I entered the bible belt. I first could tell by the signs on the side of the road. Kuddos to whoever creates these signs. This isn’t the usual boring “Jesus saves” sign. “The world has a problem? Hey, I have an idea! How about you all stop sinning and return to me – Love, God” in big letters, as big as the sign for the cowboy boots outfit at the next exit. There were others. I needed a copilot with a notepad. It’s hard to do it all sometimes. I think I missed a few while I was brushing my teeth.
– Hospitality. Seriously, wow. I’m not even officially in the deep south yet, and I have encountered nothing but open-hearted generous friendly people. I met a family from El Paso in White Sands. They came to me fascinated and attracted by my fake-crab avocado sandwich. Upon learning I was writing a book called Crazy Free, they lit up and excitedly shared their own crazy and free adventures. I love when people do that, just walk up to me and start sharing their adventures. They had a free sled for me, I gave them chocolate. I walked away from the encounter feeling an immense gratitude for the warm and welcoming place this earth is.
– Space. Oh, there is so much room down here. People on the coast, we think we have lots of room, but nothing like this. As my friend DLancer said, here when a business closes, they don’t demolish it to build a new one, they just build one next to it because there is so much space. I have been sleeping in pullouts by the side of country roads. I feel safe there. A few trucks go by, then everybody is home and it is just me, the stars and the occasional alien I imagine comes to check me out. I was pretty close to Roswell and area 51 for a while. I don’t think I was abducted. If I were, I don’t remember.
There is so much more, but I need to wrap this up quickly. My friend DLancer will be home soon to take me on a tour of Weatherford’s main attractions. He has already spoiled me rotten, and it doesn’t look like it’s waning any time soon.
I’m starting to think with a southern accent. So much to absorb. So much to live. Yes, this definitively feels too fast, but hey, it’s better than not having it at all.
Thank you to all of you amazing friends along the way. Thank you thank you thank you!!
P.S: oh man, I haven’t even told you about the cotton fields, the Carlbad caverns, White Sands, the missile range, the carrot cake, the Saguaros, the cowgirls in the corner of the bar killing it at the pool table, and all the growth and learning I’m doing. Well, you just get a preview of my preview. Maybe someday there will be a book about this journey. The journey to get to the place where I can write a book about my journey. My stories get complicated.