Today, I tapped the left pocket of my jean jacket. Inside was a small, blue, ceramic piece that you made, one given to me as a gift. With it, I feel protected, not necessarily from the elements, or people, but from the rise of unwanted thoughts. As I feel the contents of my pocket, a smile forms, and in that brief gesture, negativity hasn’t a chance. I have held close all the small talismans people gave to me for this trip. I have you all with me, reminding me that no matter what, I’m not alone in this world. I hold them individually in my hand, roll them with my fingers, and feel a grip on what I have to do.
These reminders seem especially important as I’ve decided to ride the Loneliest Highway, the Lincoln Highway, Highway 50.I think of the Van Buren sisters riding 100 years ago. I see infinity. I didn’t know what it looked like until yesterday. My rear view mirrors are shaped as circles, an infinite line vibrates, receding into the wavy horizon. I am looking into a mirror, I see my screen, the metal of the bike. I am a camera. The desert has been soaked in rain, and so have I. The smell of sage fills my breath, the sun comes out. I think about pulling over and walking as far as I can. Clouds move through the sky as large as mountains, a cow stands perpendicular to another cow. The other cows stare in my direction. I wonder what we would look like standing side-by side, me on my motorcycle, them on their own legs, their own skin. The leather I wear was soaked through, my hesitation to stop while riding through the mountain pass. The wind reminded me of my weight, I thought I was heavy. I think of my weight as part of the bike’s weight. We are one moving object when standing up to the wind. We tilt, we weave. To think of oneself as equal to wind is delusional. Wind beats body every time. Riding East, thirty miles left to go, the hail hits my knuckles. I am a sponge. There is no cover. The blue from my leather is running down my boots. I am a red sail, my go pro is running. I am singing to myself. All songs are about letting go, waking up, and moving on. I move on.
Eureka told me to stop. It was the second Eureka I’d stayed in. Eureka! Oh Eureka! When I rolled up to the gas pump, I left my bike for a moment and walked to the nearest hotel. My helmet came off, and I was just a body again. Eureka is an old Pony Express route town, and I thought of couriers on dusty horses. The facades feel as though I’m in a movie about the old west, and the Sundown Lodge Hotel sits across from The Owl Club. B gave me room #26. She said I’d be safe here. I went back to my bike and filled it with gas before bringing it to the hotel awning. When I pulled up, unpacked the bike, and made it to my room, the rain and hail stopped. The sun came out. I fell asleep after having a sweet conversation with a loved one.
Later that evening I ate a giant cheeseburger, the sixth one on my trip thus far, and had whisky and ginger in a glass. I met an old driller for the gold mine, a bartender who had a feather tattoo on her arm, a traveling german, photographer, and a couple with a dog headed for Utah to soak in hot springs.
Tonight, I’m sitting in Ely. I rode only 77 miles, some of it through a lightning storm. I called out, and vowed only to love from here on out. I listed all the people I have ever loved. I wished them well.
S.P., it seems like you have an empathic heart. Probably more than some of us will ever know. For the students I’ve had a chance to work with who have now read The Poetics of Space, I think you all have a special glimpse into finding the importance of place in unlikely spaces. This universe offers many houses, and at these iterative moments of sublime acknowledgment and absolute release, I come to re-understand just how these notions of home locate us even when structure is nowhere in sight. I can see you giving a knowing smile, and nodding your head.
Thanks for the blue.