far from any road

Tomorrow, somehow, is October first. September was fast and slow and everything in between. It was also crazy. But in a good way.

Is there a positive version of the phrase, “when it rains, it pours”? Because that has been September (and 2016) for me.

I recently returned to the place where I had lived for several years before moving back to civilization Boston. It was odd. Like trying on a piece of clothing that used to fit well only to find that it now falls in all the wrong places. Or like returning to the place of your former captivity. (Too dramatic?)

But the weirdness was worth it since I got to (1) visit dear friends whom I desperately want to move out east and (2) help my cousin move across the country to be my roommate in Beantown. With such change over the past year, friends that pre-date such upheaval increase in value. In part, this is because they function as touchstones in the whirlwind. The changes I’ve tackled recently have had a profound impact on identity and my sense of self. So it’s quite a relief to meet up with old friends and have none of them say things like, “uh, you are a completely different person, one that I don’t like.” Like I said, touchstones.

My cousin and I hit the road on a Wednesday afternoon and arrived the following Monday night (well, technically Tuesday morning if I want to get pedantic about it (which I always do)). We stopped in Albuquerque (had an amazing London Fog), Dallas (scarfed down a ribeye larger than my face), Nashville (amazing food and charming live music), and Chicago (all the good things).

As we left Utah, we were greeted with some beautifully stormy skies. Here’s a quick watercolor sketch.

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Far from any road (c) Molly Wunderli 2016

Along the way, we rode through such a diverse sampling of towns and cities in various states of prosperity and depression. The latter left a lasting impression.

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Movie House (Gary, Indiana – 2016)
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Corner of Broadway (Gary, Indiana – 2016)

There is something so poignant and almost eloquent in abandoned spaces. If I had any skill to speak of regarding cityscapes, I’d paint this. We passed through several such towns on our way to Chicago. The city ended up offering quite the juxtaposition.

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Entering Chicago (2016)

For a city (and, well, any place), Chicago is clean and well kept. I took very few photos whilst in Chicago — I was too much on the move and taking everything in. It’s a beautiful city, full of character. I’m kicking myself for not snapping a shot of the L though. Talk about a defining feature of a city! It was even more impressive than what I’d glimpsed from shows and movies filmed there. It is such an integrated part of the landscape and riding it opened up an entirely new perspective to the city.

My cousin did manage to snap this shot. It includes the other key defining feature of Chicago for me: the river that cuts right through the city!

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Chicago Skyline on the River (c) Lydia Jeppson 2016

It was a beautiful trip with beautiful people and places. All of which left me feeling inspired and itching to get creatin’ and livin’ back in Boston. (After several days of restorative sleep, of course.)

Since returning,what is perhaps my favorite poem, “somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond,” has been kicking around in my head. (You can thank e.e. cummings for the absence of spaces after punctuation.)

(i do not know what it is about you that closes

and opens;only something in me understands

the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)

nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

And with that, I’ll leave you, dear reader.

Until next time,

m.

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2 thoughts on “far from any road

  1. You are such a lovely writer. I know what you mean about returning to a previous home and it not feeling right. And how it feels to get back out. When we moved to OH I felt I could breathe a little easier.

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