Rubber on the Road

By chance, I start reading a new novel — The Father Clause by Jonas Hassen Khemiri — and I’m back in those young motherhood days I thought would go on and on eternally — changing diapers, mashing peas, carrying little kids. Those days didn’t, of course. The youngest is now learning to drive.

My youngest logs in hours for her driver’s ed class. Sunday morning, we head to Montpelier. She parks in front of the statehouse, and we walk up the enormous granite steps. There’s no one around, save for five joggers decked out in full Santa suits. They wave merrily at us.

We head south along Route 2, through stoplights, towards Barre, talking about green arrows, lane changes, and the rules about turning, or not, on red. I’m giving my daughter a road map. At the same time, she asks questions about her father and where he’s gone. Talking with my daughter, on this sunny Sunday morning, at the end of a November that hasn’t even gotten cold yet, I know there’s so much unknown in all our lives, that the mystery of pandemic and chance and human relationships is a piece of participating in the human world.

Be wary, I caution my daughter. Look before heading into intersections. Read signs. Get out and admire the view from the steps, and wave to the silly Santas, too.

Dead my old fine hopes
And dry my dreaming but still…
Iris, blue each spring

― Shushiki

Photo by Molly S.