NANCY G. SHAPIRO

FINDING CALM IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE

The Sweet Wildness of Road Trips: Finale

August 7, 2013

“If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.” -Juan Ramón Jiménez, Spanish poet

 

 

A week ago we woke up, ready to go home. On the three-day drive back I had plenty of time to remember the highlights of this six-week, 6,000 mile road trip. Every one contained an element of surprise, flexibility, the inevitability of change, and the smile that comes from knowing no matter what, I had a choice in how to perceive absolutely everything. Needless to say I learned a lot about myself, one being that I tend to attract tiny miracles, like walking across a flooded [shallow] arroyo barefoot [my flip-flops sank in the mud], without stepping on one cactus. And yes, I know, thirst and drowning are the top two ways to die in the desert. Maybe the miracles aren’t so tiny.

I took a lot of snapshots of storms, sunsets, miscellaneous orange objects, and of my husband taking photographs, a 20-year tradition of witnessing creativity in the flesh. Some things I’ve found to be fairly predictable—there will be storms of one kind or another, sunsets occur even over high security, barb-wired enclosed power plants thereby nullifying all sunset clichés, my dear one will be on the lookout for one more way to express how he sees the world and I will be watching for meaning, inclusive of incomparable beauty and trash along the road.

To continue to enjoy myself as much as I did on this summer journey seems to consist of living as if the lines don’t exist. Juan Ramón Jiménez won the 1956 Nobel for Literature for a reason: he knew the secret.

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