I love road trips. When we were children my Mother and Father would pack us all into the station wagon and we’d drive across the country to visit family members and stop at wondrously eccentric tourist traps along the way. It was the sixties and we loved it! We sang, argued and laughed in the car. We happily explored the odd attractions along the highway together.
I’m still a big fan of road trips and now I travel with my sister, niece and my two feline companions. Yes, we travel with two cats, brother and sister, that roam freely in the car. Imagine that! Thank goodness the five of us have a good rhythm with one another.
The desert changes like the ocean, each mile has its own dance of color and light, playing on the sand and rocks. The light burns the dark clouds from my heart and my mind begins to relax and enjoy the road. I don’t mind driving. At times I really enjoy it. That’s probably why I use so many driving metaphors. City driving teaches me how to discipline my mind, while desert driving teaches me to relax my mind. I like the balance.
The drive always holds surprises. As we begin another journey across the endless ocean of sand we always reflect on past trips. Remember when we…and remember that time?
My family and I have an inner heart connection. We know each other so well that we often communicate without words. A glance, a tilt of the head, can say it all. My niece, well, she’s grown up in a family of Intuitives and we don’t yet know how that will play out for her in the world. She does realize her upbringing is unusual at best. She’s at that age where road trips aren’t the first thing on her wish list, but once she gets going with us, she’s all in.
Last year after visiting our parents, we were returning home and Mother Desert had devised a lesson about time and timelessness for us. We were on I-8 west bound, approaching Roll, AZ. when in the distance, we saw a sea of red tail lights on the freeway. This didn’t bode well. Soon we would realize that we were coming to a complete stop. We saw people standing outside their vehicles, and that usually means waiting, waiting and perhaps more waiting.
The mood in the car turned to compassion. Was there an accident? Is anyone hurt? Soft, silent prayers emanated from us. We could see smoke in the distance and later we would be told that a truck and a train had had an encounter with one another. ( no fatalities). People had already been waiting for an hour and we would wait for another one.
Strangers were gathering with each other outside their vehicles, sharing information and speculating on the issues of time. Mother Desert is all about teaching her children about time and timelessness. She insists that you take care of time. Waiting gives us the option to practice patience or not.
The east bound side of the road had no traffic on it because it had been closed on the far side of the accident. I sat in the car and pondered on my surroundings. I watched worry and concern etch themselves in the faces of the waiting and I listened to bits of conversations between strangers speaking to one another, hoping for news and explanations, but I found that I kept being drawn to that empty expanse of road across the way. I loved the juxtaposition, the tense uncertainty on our side of the freeway and the openness and calmness of the other side.
I looked upward into the endless blue sky and to my delight I saw this X in the sky. It reminded me of my lists. I love lists, rather I love marking an X besides the tasks that I’ve completed on those lists, it’s like marking time.
As I stood outside the car listening to conversations, the wind blowing softly, the big X overhead, I was suddenly inspired. I remembered my red pillow in the back of my car, it’s my meditation cushion. I couldn’t resist, I knew what we had to do, I walked to the back of the car and pulled the cushion out. The joy was about to begin! I picked the cushion up and my sister, niece and I walked purposefully across the
median to the empty lanes of the south bound I-8. We laid the cushion on the white lines of the freeway beneath the giant X in the sky and sat down.
What a feeling! It wasn’t dangerous because the traffic was halted miles away. It felt transcendental. I looked across and saw the other travelers looking at my family and myself. They seemed stunned and happy that this unusual scene was unfolding. It seemed to be a welcome reprieve from the waiting. Their faces seemed to be saying, Look at them, what are they doing?
I just kept thinking that this moment is such a metaphor for my life. I use my time in traffic as a way to discipline my mind. I don’t want to catch the impatient thoughts that are constantly being thrown from car to car. I work at being centered in my vehicle and for some reason I have a curious habit of laughing while driving. I don’t know why, but weird stories cross my mind and I have many weird stories!
We picked up the cushion and returned to our car laughing. Laughter has a way of transcending time and dark moods. The cats retreated into their little house for the remainder of our trip and we were on our way home.
Home, I love that word.
Peace be with you Namaste