In 1967 my father bought a Pontiac Catalina and a dingy old travel trailer and took his girlfriend, my brother and me on a road trip. Over the next 8 weeks we drove 13,498 miles, visited 51 parks, and saw wonders like geysers, redwoods, grizzlies, and the Summer of Love in San Francisco. The trip made an indelible impression, cementing my appreciation for the natural world and the American landscape. This summer Pamela and I hope to repeat the experience for our family.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Lark: The Swinging of the Western Sun

Patterns are beginning to form. They form mannerisms, habits, unavoidable things that come along with time passing. As the days swing by with the slow moving western sun we camp night and day, over and over, despite the persistent throbbing of altitude headaches. We have steadily lost track of the day and frequently of the time. Living in Arizona can confuse a foreigner. I believe it is Sunday the 4th of July but I could be mistaken. As we widdle our way across the country those patterns become more present. The tent goes up. The tent comes down. Mamma cooks, daddy cleans. Linden configures all the chairs while I fold and unfold all sleeping material. This goes on and on, back and forth to the campground sink. By now clothes are not clean and we all home the peculiar smell of sweat, tent, and fire smoke. We eat to gain nutrients and energy to survive, not to enjoy any meal. Arizona does not understand the concept of fresh vegetables. The car is always a tetras game, trying to work the puzzle of the trunk.

Sunscreen on.

Sunscreen off.

Snap, snap, argue, argue, beautiful landscapes one after another.

First it’s hot. Then it’s cold. Then it’s windy. Then it’s raining. We fight on through all of this, trying to absorb everything. We fight on. And on. A battle against time and nature.

Chairs up, down, pack, clean, wash, see, write, think, sleep, cereal. Over and over. There are many more cycles ahead. Many more sunburns and dishes to wash. Today is just one unit in the cycle.

And we have miles to go before we sleep.

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