I've said it before, and I'll say it again: driving is my favorite thing in the known universe. My ability to drive is directly correlated to my ability to feel progress, and wonder, and raw, beautiful life. It's one of the reasons that I hated being on Xanax. Couldn't drive, couldn't escape.
I always need a way out.
Yesterday, I woke up in Austin with my toes underneath Jax, gave him a goodbye kiss, and pointed myself toward Colorado. I was pretty excited, but in no rush; I hadn't driven to CO by these roads before, and I didn't know what I'd see.
I saw the city turn into suburbs, which turned into farmland, which turned into plains and prairies. Buttes and mesas randomly dotted the landscape, and I snapped pictures at 80 miles per hour. It was perfect. And I was glad that the signs reflected the things that I felt behind my eyes.
When I got to New Mexico, the clouds changed. I hadn't really been to NM before, except for Four Corners, due west of where I was driving through. I believe that I put one butt cheek on New Mexican land, and that was the extent of it. Turns out, one butt cheek was not enough. (It never is, is it?)
Upon entering New Mexico, the sign boasted a "Land of Enchantment." They weren't exaggerating. I was pretty enchanted.
I pressed on, and knew that something was about to happen. The land kept getting more and more restless, and so did I. Wide based hills, mesas, and (apparently) volcanoes (?!) popped up, and I wondered what had happened there to make it so.
Uplift is incredibly courageous. It is catastrophic and terrifying, but it's a slow blossom. I always feel so much better when I am surrounded by mountains and hills, like geological uplift is a metaphor for my life. It's what happens when things collide and everything doesn't vaporize. Some things vaporize. The things that have to vaporize will vaporize. And sometimes, that's really painful.
It's painful, but it doesn't always have to mean that things don't work out for the better. There's beauty in uplift and erosion. There's growth that comes with change. And there's bravery that blooms, here. What's more terrifying than knocking heads with a tectonic plate? Not much, on this Earth. Fault lines prevail, and our planet will stabilize, and sometimes that stability requires us to push upward and nestle ourselves against each other until we fit together, weary heads in the crooks of comforting shoulders. We are conserved, in this equilibrium. We fit.
And then, like clockwork, I rounded the corner and there they were. An hour before sunset is exactly the time to cross from New Mexico into Colorado. It's the magic hour, when everything is on fire and shadows spike into the golden sky and snow kisses sunlight.
There are things in this life that I cannot handle. The Rockies have always been one of them. The Rockies will never not make me want to cry unadulterated joy tears, or tug on my heart, or allow me to exercise my gift for extracting every ounce of wonder out of everything. And because of this, I don't want to handle them. They are not mine to handle; I was not raised with them, they did not rise for me. They are too big and too wide and too majestic to be held by one soul, so I share their energy and it makes me desperate.
It makes me weirdly desperate. My first reaction is denial, because there's no way that something in this world could be that beautiful. Then, deep gratitude. This is land that we've let evolve, and let alone. We're no match for it, and it towers over us like a protective father, so much like a god. Then, I kick myself for ever leaving the state of Colorado, because of the things that it does to me and the desperation it pulls from me.
It's an interesting self exploration, putting mountains in front of my face. I notice that I am the most desperate that I have ever been, in these situations. It's so strange; it almost feels as if I should be begging forgiveness for sins I have yet to commit, or clawing at the chance to stay just one moment longer, or to breathe the same air that the hills exhale...it brings me to my knees. It brings me straight to my knees.
There I was, metaphorically on my knees as Venus herself looked gracefully down over the silhouettes, and I turned into a stuttering, blithering idiot. This is how you feel when you receive good news, or your life changes, or you see the Rockies at sunset. Add having been in the car for 13 hours by my lonesome, and I was pretty desperate to call somebody, just so somebody else knew that there is still beauty in the world. I called Amanda, my favorite person in the world, and left a lengthy, breathy, hurried, messy description of the purple clouds and the orange mesas and the fiery sky and the goldenrod on the prairie...because she needed to know. All of you need to know that there are good things in the world. Side note, you should all probably be thankful that you're not Amanda on the receiving end of my lunacy. Or, if you are Amanda, then hi, darling! I am ever, ever thankful for your heart and your grace and your willingness to do life with me, sometimes even from thousands of miles away. Also, expect more of the same in the weeks to come!
I expect to remain on my knees for the foreseeable future. Dragged through the mud and the grass and the sand and the ice, on my knees before this whole Universe and how perfect and gracious it is, in all its unlikelihood, for me to exist inside of it.