I’m driving in the desert
In a long red and white convertible 1960’s Cadillac.
Shiny and new.
The bright yellow sun hangs high
In the clear blue skies.
The sand of the desert
Stretches for miles in all directions
Interrupted occasionally only by the rare cactus
Or Joshua Tree.
There is no sign of human life.
The top is down and the wind
Whispers through the tendrils of my hair
That have escaped the feathery light confines
Of the colorful silk scarf tying it back off my face.
Long strands billow out the back, unencumbered
Wild in the wind
Gleaming in the sunlight.
A little girl rides with me,
Next to me on the big bench seat.
We smile and laugh easily.
She plays with the radio,
Fiddling the knobs to tune in an old Motown song.
Time seems to have no place here.
We are driving with no sense of destination or urgency.
There is only this one long thin strip
Leading on into eternity
So we will be going where it takes us.
Behind us, in our mind’s eye only, is the city
Dark and cavernous, looming towers
And the treacherous suburban villages
Filled with soulless impotent ghouls.
We are driving in the sun
In the desert
Under the clear blue skies.
Soon we sense the spot approaching
And I slow the car.
We look at each other
And nod in agreement
We pull over to the side of the road
And get out, each from
Our own sides, heavy thump
As weighty doors ponderously shut.
From the back seat
I lift out what we have taken with us
From the city and the suburbs
Its heavy misshapen
Iron form is impossible to decipher.
No one needs to anymore.
This burden belongs
Here at the side of the road
In the desert.
The girl and I carry it together off the shoulder,
Into the desert scrubs.
We place it carefully down
Not fearing that it will break-
This burden could never be shattered-
Out of respect for how it was wrought,
Forged in our souls,
Settled in now as if it grew there in place.
We stand back, watching it,
Absently brushing sand and desert dust from our hands.
Solemn moment of inexpressible, unutterable thought.
The day is hot.
Shimmery heat mirages
Rise in the distance.
I feel a drop of sweat slide along my temple
Down the curve of my face.
The tears of hard work.
We step back now, holding hands,
And move back to the car.
Impulsively I lean down and swing the girl up
Into my arms
As I have done so many times before
With my own daughter.
We hug and I swing her over the top of the closed car door
And into her seat
While she giggles happily.
I spring around to the driver’s side and jauntily
Hop into my own seat.
Despite the dirt of our labor, my white clothes
Remain clean and fresh,
Glowing against my tanning skin.
I turn the key-
The car ignites
And the radio returns,
Rising over the rumbling again
As we pull away
From the shoulder, back
Into the road
And continue onward down the path.
Our car is a little lighter now.
We sing together under the sun.
Under the blue sky.
With the cooling wind of travel
In our hair and against our skin.