Wednesday, November 11, 2020

A Blessing From the Road

The Canso Causeway links mainland Nova Scotia with Cape Breton Island

(inspired by my recent one-woman road trip to visit a friend in Cape Breton; by oneself for three hours there and three hours back is plenty of thinking and observing time) 

Remember this, 
when you are clutching the wheel 
and riding the gas pedal and the brake,
not sure whether to gear up or gear down,
or maybe even flip on the hazard lights: 

You can drive when it’s foggy,
when you can only see what is around you
(the present)
but you can’t see in the distance
(the future)
because you know it’s safe
to believe the road will rise to meet you
even if you can’t see it
It will unfurl itself 
even as you are reach it 

Sometimes silence as you drive
is soothing
and surprising
Other times,
you need to turn up the music

As Taylor Swift sings, 
“I’ve been having a hard time adjusting
I had the shiniest wheels
Now they’re rusting” 

Remember this,
behind that hovering fog is the light
burning away those misty droplets
to reveal a glimmer, a gleam,
a beam, a beacon
Of course, it reveals there are mountains to climb,
and the road is never flat,
never straight,
and not always easy

And Taylor Swift sings,
“Hell was the journey but it brought me heaven”

Even if your backseat is full of regrets and what-ifs
and bitter recriminations,
all three wrestling for their own seatbelt,
even if you have to shout 
I’m going to stop this car – 
(although you won’t)
Just roll down the windows
and let them fly out with the dirty napkins
stained with the words you say to yourself 

And Jann Arden sings,
“These are the days
There’s life in your soul
Although your struggling to stay afloat
With nowhere on earth to go”

The signs are everywhere:
Nova Scotia Strong
and you are strong,
a tank full of courage and sorrow,
resilience and longing
Grief is an asphalt ribbon
stretching out ahead for years,
controlled access
and always under construction

And Jann Arden sings, 
“There’s life in you yet
Although you’re lost in the mire and the hate
And the bitterness of losing your faith
There’s light in your eyes
Full of hope and grace”

Because there are signs,
if you keep your eyes open:
Marshy Hope,
and Be Prepared to Stop,
and most wonderfully,
Divided Highway Ends,
and we all heave a sigh of relief
and honk our horns
as our shoulders detach from our ears,
and we can hope again,
even if the ground is wet and spongy. 

And Taylor Swift sings,
“I had a marvelous time ruining everything” 

Yet these are the days
when the holy moments 
are found in the fog
and the cloudless blue sky
in the chitchat at the gas station
and the four-fingered waves on country roads
where everyone thinks they know you
in the six eagles soaring over the causeway
in a slipstream between human and divine
and your white knuckles ease on the wheel
and you yield to the journey
as your spirit merges with the destination 
as a bridge from here to there

~ Sara Jewell 

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