Wednesday, September 05, 2007


This poem reminded me of my drive to California -- my car in tow, a cat sharing the ride, and the absolute freedom I felt driving west! It was frightening, exhilerating, liberating - a true adventure. And it was something only a 21 year old can do.

You get to a point in life when you realize that no matter what, you can never just get in your car and drive away. I wanted to today. After being on the phone with pharmacies and case workers and insurance companies and dealing with all the red tape of life -- grabbing my keys and hitting the road, sleeping in the trunk and eating egg salad sandwiches from 7-11 sounded like a dream vacation. When I tried to take a five minute 'calming down' break, the case worker called and I didn't answer, so all meds were sent to the wrong pharmacy, and it took another hour to fix the problem.

Froggy saw me freak out and said, "huggy mama," and then she started crying. I felt like a jerk and did the only thing a stressed out and guilty mama could do. Instead of getting in my car and driving into the sunset (which would only be about a mile or so), I drove our sorry selves to the swings, the slides and merry-go-round. Somehow in the sway of the wind, and the blissful sound of Froggy's giggles, I was able to escape, and ultimately remember why I stay. She is my joy, my adventure, and in a strange way, my freedom. Even with all of the CF strings attached, there is no destination as wonderful as our bed at night, tucked under the covers with the butterfly light on, hearing those sweet words, "ohhh huggy mama."

Poem: "Keys" by Nancy Henry, from Our Lady of Let's All Sing. © Sheltering Pines Press, 2007.


When things got hard
I used to drive and keep on driving—
once to North Carolina
once to Arizona—
I'm through with all that now, I hope.
The last time was years ago.
But oh, how I would drive
and keep on driving!
The universe around me
all well in my control;
anything I wanted on the radio,
the air blasting hot or cold;
sobbing as loudly as I cared to sob,
screaming as loudly as I needed to scream.
I would live on apples and black coffee,
shower at truck stops,
sleep curled up
in the cozy back seat I loved.
The last time, I left at 3 a.m.
By New York state,
I stopped screaming;
by Tulsa
I stopped sobbing;
by the time I pulled into Flagstaff
I was thinking
about the Canyon,
I was so empty.
Thinking about the canyon
I was.
I sat on the rim at dawn,
let all the colors fill me.
It was cold. I saw my breath
like steam from a soup pot.
I saw small fossils in the gravel.
I saw how much world there was
how much darkness
could be swept out
by the sun.


Anonymous said...

wow...and i too think about my drive across country a lot. i did it five times between my jr year, sr and grad school days. very liberating and i wonder if it "would be the same"...i didn't have a cell phone back then. hugs to you and froggy. jcn

Casey said...

Oh I know this feeling well. There are some days I would give so much to be able to hit the road and just keep driving but then...a sweet smile, a hug or a tender baby kiss spins my head around and I sit back down.