The road as metaphor – some year end thoughts…

This is a long post, if you’re on a slow connection, it may take time to load. I hope you feel it is worth the time.

A year-end rumination, if you will permit me such a thing.
If you won’t permit me, then at least permit yourself some reflection (= some ‘space for thought’ ).

Road trips always include many views of, well, the road… as you are driving it. And probably more than a few times when you stop, just to take it in… and snap a few frames to lock it into memory in some way.

RoadNVThe road is also obviously a metaphor for life – it goes forward, never back; the surroundings and view have infinite variety, and they all have different meanings, depending on the view and the viewer.
You are in the ‘now’, what you passed thru is gone, what you see ahead is (the) future. The past can never be reclaimed, the future is still over the horizon, unknowable.

(When I moved out to California in late 1991, i remember stopping somewhere along US 40 as it dumped me out into the Mojave desert, and pulling over to stop and take it in. I was just dumbstruck by the landscape, I knew that I had made the right decision, to dump everything back east, pack what i could in a Subaru hatchback, and take my sorry ass (and what little I had to my name) to San Francisco, and start over. As I was taking a few frames, and to tell ya the truth, crying a bit of joy over my tenuous condition, truckers and motorists honked at me, I didn’t understand why.
After living out here for a while, now I do. Stopping in the breakdown lane, to gaze at the landscape, & take pictures, is a BAD idea. That lane is there for a reason, and it ain’t ‘photography’ or spiritual revelation.)
As for more ‘road’ images that pull at the heartstrings, or the ‘mindstrings’ or whatever you call that part of your head that deals with the deeper metaphorical things in life, here’s a few of mine, they may well resemble yours, some of the frames I’ve included before, but not with this particular perspective on them.

Every moment is a choice:

01MojaveDirectionsEach step is a new step
02footprntTNEvery intersection is a decision:

03ForkInTheRoad36Every sign is also a choice, a decision:

Your vehicle(=your life)?… could be a very slapdash/improvised thing:

05VehicleBodieYou continue on, it’s all you got anyway, make the best of it.
Sometimes when you look back, it seems so far away, and long ago.

06_SwitchbackRDAnd there will be some moments when you, the road, the sky, stars & moon align, and you feel like you are one with the universe.

07WalkinTheLineOf course you aren’t, not really, it just seems that way, what you see gives you that impression, but impressions are subjective, and fleeting. Enjoy this illusion while it lasts. Something like 95% of all the creatures that have lived on this planet are now extinct. With our climate changing ways, and self destructive impulses, we will be extinct before too long, too.
“Dust to dust, ashes to ashes, we all fall down.”

There may be a few moments when you think you can see the future, like this fog over Pt Bonita north of SF…


146_RoadDownor the past, like this shot looking back from a high point on Rte 190 going west from Death Valley, thru Owens Valley, and on to Rte 395.

08.2Road2.OwensValleyBut by the time you get there?… the fog will be gone, the future you imagined?… quite possibly gone, too, replaced by reality. There’s an old saying: ‘Life is the thing that happens while you are hoping for your dreams to come true’.
Deal with it, improvise.

One old piece of buddhist wisdom I have always remembered – ‘life is a bridge, pass over it, but build no monuments’.
In great contrast to another saying: ‘he who dies with the most toys, wins’.
He or she who has the most varied, interesting, challenging experiences, that’s the person who really ‘wins’ at life. That’s called a ‘rich’ life, you have experienced the ups and downs, and that’s what it’s all about.

Music Links:
Warren Zevon:
“My ride’s here”
“..the trail is long and the river is wide..” Yes, indeed.

Dust down a country road – John Hiatt

This track inspired the following comment:

“The beauty of this song for me (and I’m sure you probably feel differently) is that it has nothing to do with dogs or dust or trucks or country roads. The narrator is the truck, the dog is the part of the narrator that looks back at the past (the dust) with regret and nostalgia, and that ends up spoiling the present. On his wedding night, he’s haunted by the sweet, simple memories of an old girlfriend. That’s why he’d shoot the dog if he could. A truly awesome song.”

Think about that one, i am still trying to figure it out.
Traffic, a great late 60’s band – Steve Winwood, Dave Mason, Chris Wood, Jim Capaldi.
“Who knows what tomorrow may bring”

Yes, definitely – who knows what tomorrow may bring.

With that, i leave you to your thoughts, may they be … a road to the future, better, times.
ViewpointVehicleMONTAGEAu Revoir 🙂