In the crimson-hot July sultriness downtown yesterday, standing on a sidewalk, I flashbacked to what my parents used to call with enthusiasm “being on the road.” For years, we trekked from New Hampshire to humid Ohio to visit the anticipated happiness of cousins, and often far across the Mississippi, spending weeks in nylon tents and cooking canned corn over campfires.
I picked up that thread through much of my adulthood, crossing over from the backseat to the steering wheel. As a kid, of course, meshed in with my siblings, the primary concerns revolved around swimming possibilities and how good a campsite we were going to score.
The landscape from the driver’s seat looks mighty different. Navigation ranks right at the top of my list, something I never would have considered as a kid. Life on the road, I believed, would always get us from here to there. But maybe there’s a real element of truth there, too.
Our road has landed us here, on a dead end street, in a house whose property is bounded by lilacs on two sides. Last night, into dusk, I pulled out the deep weeds along these bushes, listening to the girls laughing about a game they had made up on the trampoline with four deflating soccer balls. We’ve put away the atlas for now, and traded in the scent of fresh asphalt for black soil, damp with early falling dew.
stream in summertime—
this joy of wading across
with sandals in hand