I packed my car with family and friends and they saw me off as I started my journey. Jersey bound. I'm taking the long way to California to see all the land I can and to meet up with life long friends along the way. I'm enriching and acclimating myself before I start my ten month long service commitment with AmeriCorps. A panda sat in the window and counted the trees that past. The sunset over Hartford, Connecticut shined it's erie light over the highway, tinting my skin a pinkish hue.
Capturing life goes the distance as mystique darkness crawled across New York City. I searched for Lady Liberty who stood tall watching over her inhabitants, looking towards the sky for a sign. Ten years later, yet I can't tell if she is filled with hope or filled with fear. Atop the George Washington Bridge, the Hudson River breathed it's muggy fish breath in my face but suddenly, Jersey strangely but welcomely smelled like some sort of a popcorn festival.
Steam billowed from tall buildings and airplanes took off from Newark, New Jersey over the city lights. In Linden, darkness had fallen. Heads rested on shoulders and hands were held during a stroll down a lover's lane. It's always a slow crawl through Roselle, New Jersey but I got to "Aunt" Pat's with no problems.
Rocky and Patch always crave extra love and it's always easy to spoil the "dog-people."
After a night's rest, "Aunt" Pat made me a Jersey treat: an egg, cheese and pork roll breakfast sandwich.
Now ready for day two, I sipped my Red Bull and smiled back at the phantom toll booth lady, bearing black skin, a nose piercing and dreadlocks. Cinnamon stains on the Jersey Turnpike. Delaware came and went with red flashes and outside Baltimore, Maryland, a disgruntle customer caused a commotion at the gas station. The silver springs in my car bounced to a happy country tune in the perfect 85 degree weather. Puffy clouds and blue sky hovered over Fairfax, Virginia. I drove and drove and drove. Who knew Virginia was so huge?! Orange sheet metal rolls up the front lawn and I pull off the highway in Marshal, Virginia to gas-up at the La Palmita station across the street from this Marshal Methodist Church.
Cattle to the left and sheep to the right. Farmlands. Black sheep, white sheep. I thought about what it feels like to stick out like a black sheep. I found them inspiring. More farmlands. I drove through Virginia and thought, she's got a lot to offer… if you're a farmer.
The day turned to pre-dusk and I nodded a thought at a rest stop but I gained my second wind from the beauty of Shenandoah. Endless caverns. Acres and acres of nature.
I heard my first Southern accent at a Citgo that night and couldn't help but wonder what the Southland was like in the Autumntime. Soon enough. I got my third wind by the time I passed the exit for Virginia Tech and finally, after hours and hours, I crossed the State Line. I thought she'd never end, Virginia.
Tennessee however, brought rain. He brought lightening to my left and darkness to my right. I could smell wet hay and freshly cut grass. Darkened, starless skies feel like empty arms and white knuckles.
I drove into North Carolina in the dark, surrounded by tall, black shadows the whole way into Asheville. Mountains. Mountains I hadn't seen before. Mountains I still haven't seen… in daylight. It took me twelve hours that day to get to Rachael in Asheville, North Carolina but I made it and still had energy to catch up on our busy summers and learn Asheville has the best beer in the country.