Sunday, July 5, 2009
Sometimes you need to get away. Sometimes you need to get away even though you just got back from two weeks in Utah. Sometimes your son in getting married in six days and you need to get away.
So I'm getting away. Every day. In Blue Highways.
I came across a copy of Blue Highways in the Travel Narrative Bookbox that arrived this week. I read Blue Highways when it first came out and I loved it so much that I've always considered it one of my favorite reads. Had to give it one of my rare rereads.
Blue highways are those roads on maps that come from nowhere and lead to nowhere. Back when this book was lived, the roads were often unpaved. (Would there be many unpaved roads in America, anymore?) William Least Heat Moon learns, in rapid succession, that his job is ending and his wife is leaving him. His response is to take out on the road.
He talks to people about change and meaning and nature and life. He meets some brilliant people and he meets some scary people. But it's a great journey.
I can't wait to get back on the road with this man.
A few quotes: "It's a contention of (my dad's)---believing as he does any traveler who misses the journey misses about all he's going to get---that a man becomes his attentions. His observations and curiosity, they make and remake him."
"Helen Keller...said life is a daring adventure or it is nothing. Adventure---an advent. But no coming without a going. Death and rebirth. Antithetical notions lying next to each other, as on a globe the three-hundred-sixtieth degree does to the first. Past and future."
"My rambling metaphysics was getting caught in the trap of reducing experience to coherence and meaning, letting the perplexity of things disrupt the joy in their mystery. To insist that diligent thought would bring an understanding of change was to limit life to the comprehensible."
And, finally, a conversation:
"'Your little spree sounds nice until you go back.'
'Don't have to go back who I was.'
'Can you get out of it?'
'I'll find out. Maybe experience is like a globe---you can't go the wrong way if you travel far enough.'
'You'll end up where you started.'
'I'm working on who. Where can take care of himself....'"
He fixes up an old van and decides to travel through America, stopping in cafes (calendar count is important in cafe quality). I'm only halfway through the book and I've been reading it all week.
I'm in no hurry to finish it.