Open Road

"No Man's Land" - Oklahoma Panhandle

I love traveling.  In particular, I love driving.  I especially love driving the open roads of the Llano Estacado and the high mountain deserts of West Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.  This is where I grew up.  If you’ve never driven those wide empty plains and experienced the sense of freedom that comes with it, it is hard to explain the attraction.

The photo above is from my most recent trip westward, through the Panhandle of Oklahoma and into the northeastern corner of New Mexico.  The empty highway, void of heavy traffic, induce a meditative state, yet still alert, that allows my mental processes the freedom to explore all sorts of new possibilities, new explanations, as well as those unspoken fears and questions found deep down inside.

I imagine this is what contemplative prayer is like.  I’ve never quite been able to accomplish this same level of mental freedom or release in prayer.  It is elusive and frustrating.  Usually, my thoughts are disordered, somewhat frantic in nature and undisciplined when I’m trying to be meditative or contemplative.  I’ve been told that I can learn to do this better with practice.  The open road, perhaps paired with the mental act of driving, is a better environment for me.

I have loved the open road ever since I learned to drive the summer after my 16th birthday.  I have undoubtedly driven hundreds of thousands of miles, yet my thoughts often go back to my first experiences of driving on the Llano Estacado in and around Hobbs, New Mexico.  The long straight roads, with the warm air blowing through the open windows, have ever since been my favorite kind of solitude.  I must do it more often.

My aunt says that we have “gypsy blood” because everyone in my family is much like me.  At any given moment, at least one of us is traveling somewhere.  Perhaps you, dear reader, are like me, itching to go at a moments notice, to be somewhere other than “here.”

Although at times it can seem like a curse, when responsibilities and the needs of others take precedence, there is always a sense of excitement and anticipation when the next journey approaches.  The next several months are offering several opportunities.  Some familiar places to visit and some new ones.

I can hardly wait!

2 thoughts on “Open Road

  1. “somewhere other than here” coexists with “here is where I am.” no wonder I’m neurotic.

    “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

    • I knew I was in good company when I learned that my great-aunt used to travel to Egypt on old steamers, back in the 1930s. Who knew that a literary giant like Stevenson also had the bug?

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