On the Road
What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.
– Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Heading east on 1-70 early yesterday morning, watching my Colorado mountains fade into Kansas fields, the year caught up with me. And while Dmitri, Lily, and Char napped, I cried and drove and cried some more, because all of those great big feelings that I haven’t really had time for this week found their way to the surface, and there wasn’t really much I could do.
We had an amazing visit. In addition to taking Lily to the zoo and the museum, Dmitri and I also drove around our old neighborhood, and the park where we used to run with Charlotte, and the restaurant where we had our first date. And for a little while, we let ourselves imagine what it might have been like if we’d decided to stay in Denver, near our families and friends. It would have been a good life, we agreed. A great life, even.
Perhaps we’ve made a terrible mistake, we wondered.
But then Lily, who’d dozed off in her car seat, woke up with a squawk, jolting us out of our heads and back into the present. And Dmitri said what we both knew to be true: had we not decided to take the leap, then we might not have made this amazing little person whose arrival changed everything.
I’ll be honest– for a few hours yesterday, I was pretty certain that the intense longing would never go away. But somewhere just across the Kansas state line, it started to subside. Instead of sadness, I felt something distinctly bittersweet–because this was goodbye, and because it is also hello: to a new year, and to innumerable new adventures.