The morning sky blushes over eastern Washington

It takes a long time for the street lamps to turn off now. In the morning the only sound is the thrum of the interstate off the valley walls or the geese flying away. The interstate cuts through the land and rises east; in less than an hour I could be at the pass for a view of the sunrise and red-stained clouds, the land opening up beneath. And further east, the country market where they sell boxes of fruit and homemade jam, and up the rickety steps antiques, where a drummer from an 80s grunge band has a stall and I’ll pick through his CDs and flannels. I could drive to my friend Brad’s cabin clear across the state, taking the scenic route past towns with names like Reardan or Ford, where everything seems out of place and unlikely it’s so remote, though it looks like it couldn’t be anywhere else but here. Hours later I’m pulling up Brad’s gravel road, past the beaten-down trailers with blue tarps and firewood, pickup trucks, rusted parts beyond repair, weathered flags, three-legged dogs. For a couple nights we’ll visit just to catch up, cook, and keep the fire going. We’ll go into town to get out but it’s not much of a town, which is fine. We’ll walk his property with our coffees back to the county road (which isn’t much of a road) past the wild turkeys, maybe see a moose, listen for the carrion crow. Brad’s good with trees and points out the differences but I can’t remember their names. We’ll talk about mountains we’d like to climb or ones we have already, people we both knew, our kids. Brad will send me home with a snack and I’ll retrace my route through the small towns south, past post offices and abandoned bars, west on the interstate home.

Wild horse monument outside George, WA

The clouds are pink-gold with the wintry faint sun and it’s well worth an early morning walk despite the chill. An artist could make it look real with pastels or watercolors the way a writer could a scene or a character with words. Or a singer could sing in a way that even if you didn’t know the words the feeling could move you, mark the moment as yours. It could make you feel connected for a time with something that’s true. And that’s all I want to do.

Heading north of Spokane, November

Categories: writing


30 replies

  1. Enjoyed riding along … wanting connection keeps tugging at my inner escaper wanting to just get away … a car trip day sounds like the fix! (Love driving solo! Don’t do it much anymore … except in thoughts …)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey Jazz! Happy Sunday to you and thanks for reading. I’m happy you enjoyed the ride as you say, I was trying to mimic that roadtrip vibe for the reader. Seems it’s a renewed pastime for us at least, the impromptu roadtrip…if only to the Dairy Queen, just to get out. Thanks for the note. Yes to driving solo, always with a good tape or CD. About to go do that now! Enjoy the afternoon, sending warmth and well wishes your way. Bill

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies,
    and an uncoloured sky is now a tether
    between space and liberty.
    What could a poet make of as miserable a task as that of truth, one might ask. Nothing coloured, because there’s never colour, only motion. We’ve come to know that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies sounds like the entry to any manner of poem or story I could imagine, I love it. Thanks for riffing with me and keeping up with me Joao-Maria. And through the books on papers and papers on books it sounds like you’re sifting through in your school again. Hope that’s going well. Will mull on the idea of motion vs. colour, I like that distinction…thank you. Be well! We made it through August, didn’t we? Ha!

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  3. It’s the name of the sculpture you photographed. Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies, by David Govedare, if I’m not mistaken. University has been quite the torture this year; I suppose it’s only natural, given the year.
    I always make it through and I’m never less surprised; what an Hamletian sentiment.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I took my first trip out of Melbourne this weekend (restrictions lifted recently, so yay and double yay for 23 double zero days [no infection and no deaths in Victoria, Australia]). Lamented the lack of a CD player in the car as a new batch of albums had arrived and the digital transfer did not work.
    My legs had forgotten about this hill-climbing business but luckily a walk in the forest was motivation enough. How wonderful the birds sounded. Pure analogue. Saw a wallaby (a kangaroo like creature, if that helps) in the shrub under amazingly tall gun trees and giant ferns. Refreshed again. So thanks Bill, for redoubling the refreshment.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow! What an image that is David with the wallaby and old trees and ferns. Thanks for sharing that, lovely. Had to have felt good to get out in the warmth and sun there (I imagine it as such with spring going into summer there now). I get the analogue, that’s good. I’m just back from a walk now myself around some horse farms near our neighborhood. Had my “Walkman” along for the jaunt and some broody shoe-gazing stuff. Our soundtrack for November, not yours…

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s gumtrees. Not gun trees. Maybe spellcheck is set to US English?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s gumtrees not gun trees. Maybe spellcheck is set for US English? Sorry.


  6. That last photo reminds me of driving in Saskatchewan. In the ’80s.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. a writer could a scene or a character with words. Or a singer could sing in a way that even if you didn’t know the words the feeling could move you –> These words brought a song to my mind. What she’s a writer AND a singer and can do both?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I enjoyed the story, and the coda in the final paragraph, yes, we need to keep our eyes and ears open for reminders of that things that connect us to what’s real.
    Man, I see those miles of road with just dry grasses and telephone poles, it’s such an alien sight to someone from the northeast, I guess it gives your mind plenty of room to roam.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those miles of open road are such a salve for the mind! Yes I can relate, being from the NE myself. One of the things I fell in love with, first time I drove across Montana. All this sky and land. Happy Thanksgiving to you (early)!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. A gentle road trip. Sounds peaceful. Or perhaps I should say, I enjoyed the sense of quiet you evoked.

    Liked by 1 person

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