by Krissie Mason
It’ 3:58 am. The chirping cricket alarm will go off in two minutes. I can hear my brother, Randy, lightly snoring on the couch. The thermostat just kicked in to take the chill off the Minnesota morning. I’ll microwave yesterday’s coffee, roll out of bed in sweats from my college alma mater, Concordia, and throw on my favorite hat.
Though my teenage daughter, Mari, is eager to go, it will be like waking the dead to get her out bed this morning. She was delighted to hear I figured out how to use the onboard wi-fi in the Chevy Equinox we’ll be driving. Frankly, I was too. Makes time on the road productive.
We put on 850 miles today. We started in the dark, early morning as many hunting trips do. There is something about cloak of darkness that adds drama to any road trip. With barely a single cup of coffee sipped to warm me, we stopped to grab a quick nosh from a travel stop in southern Minnesota. Slick ice awaited the bottoms of my cozy feet tucked into Birkenstocks for car travel. I drove most of the miles today and watched snow and ice turn to fog and rain, and and then daylight and sunshine.
Iowa became Missouri, then Kansas, then Oklahoma and landscape became more western in feel. Limestone weathered red rock. Scrubby looking pines and cedars, barbed wire fence and black angus cattle. A pasture of burros, too.
And Kansas brought a Google search for Best BBQ in Kansas City. We ended up in a funky area of re-gentrification in the City in a building called the Freight House. The street was paved in old brick. The mouth watering smell of sweet woodsmoke and burnt ends hit us as we swung open the door on the Equinox having arrived at Fiorella’s Jack Stack BBQ.
I realize I’m in my sweats, my hair is messy, I’m wearing a hat, wool sock on my feet and they are tucked into Birkenstock sandals. At another time in my life I would never have been caught dead going into such a nice place looking the way I did, but I was feeling a little raw and careless…a realization that it really doesn’t matter what I look like. Or, maybe it does and right now I just don’t give two hoots.
“PEOPLE! I’m going to Texas to shoot a boar! After 39 years I’m on a quest to see if I can pull the trigger. So stop looking at me like I just got off the Martian ship. Mind your own business, and please pass the burnt ends.” But I don’t say it. Instead I ask for directions to the ladies room.
Road trips like this are good. This one sorely needed. Allowing a transitioning and shedding of the encumbrances that keep me fastened to the worries and the demands of providing for house and home as a single mom. As the landscape became sweeping vistas of green winter wheat I could feel a lightening and freeing. And as the Oklahoma sunset in the west painted a portrait of intense indigo, and lavender and pink in the eastern low slung clouds I felt very “in the moment”. In a story. My story.
We passed the Chisholm Trail…the route of the historic cattle drive after the civil war to the Kansas rail. There were many coyotes on the sides of the road, and birds of prey sat as sentinels on trees. Some caught the air and did lazy circles in the sky. And that green! That beautiful, green, sprawling lush carpet of winter wheat. I wanted to lie down and roll in it, but I kept rolling up the pavement instead…making my way to Texas. We spent the night in Chickasha, OK.
Am I feeling a separating, or is it an integrating? Stripping away, or putting on?
Along the way I have been visualizing the stands of sage and mesquite brush, hearing the grunts and seeing a pig within the picture. I have been imagining myself aiming and pulling the trigger. Creating the moment.
Driving is more like a journey, a preferred mode of transportation for me…rather than hoping on a plane and just getting there in few hours. Worries of home are allowed to dissolve slowly with each mile, and seem far away as I lay down next to my daughter to sleep at he Holiday Inn Express in Chickasha, O, K, L, A, H, O, M, A, Oklahoma!
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