The road burns fast! We made it out of Atlanta without a hitch, slightly behind schedule but yearning for the vastness of America. Asheville was, as usual, rife with twangy goodness and rich beer. Our host was a beautifully enthusiastic soul who danced with Marie and I, effortlessly, to Girl from Ipanema – on vinyl, no less! We twisted with the night.
The Blue Ridge Parkway loomed before us – jagged and ancient and endless mountains – they oxygenated us. We made a bedroom of the Milky Way Galaxy and were serenaded by the wild. In the morning, we baptized ourselves in mountain streams and bathed in the lakes that fed them.
The mountains became sparse – boiling hills interrupted by dilapidated farmhouses from the times before rust reigned. We found a pristine and empty church in the middle of a field where we danced atop bales of sepia hay.
Then we found Roanoke, a quiet town that held within it the life of a sad man. Within this sad man there was a happy dog (with a penchant for shredding doormats) and a glowing memory of the time he jumped from an airplane.
We drove through the weathered glory of south Baltimore before we got to the marble part, wherein we found a million arabesque brushstrokes of ancient fables. We drove south to my Aunt and Uncle’s house for the night, and I slept on the couch that was inherited from my grandparent’s apartment. I remember falling in love with the couch as a child, but it was out of place without the nostalgic musk of Wisconsin.
We came back to Baltimore tonight to drop off Arnaud and revelled in upturned bottles and rooftop opera in a house with a spiral staircase.
Five days worth of poetry are making their way up my spine.
Says Kurt Vonnegut.
It is settled, etched in stone, demanded by the gods! The Blue Ridge Parkway beckons. I will carry with me enough to sustain me for an indeterminate period, plus one (1) ukulele. I will pursue the horizon.
Arnaud returned from New Orleans Sunday night with Marie. The two of them hitchhiked from NOLA to Atlanta with a Columbian truck driver who, upon his departure, gifted them (and by proxy, me) with spoils readily available at any fine Bankhead truckstop. Last night, we nourished ourselves with home-cooked goodness (banana coconut chicken curry with cumin lime chickpea salad, if you must know) and cheap wine, desserted ourselves with an apple-cinnamon pastry, and nightcapped ourselves with the banter of our collective profundity.
And tomorrow – tomorrow! If I can somehow finish my exams with the taste of the mountain air just out of reach – phantom pleasure just teasing the olfactory glands – I’ll embark with a wildfire burning blue beneath my itching feet.
I don’t know where I’m going after the Parkway. We are dropping Arnaud off in Baltimore so that he may pursue doctorly things at Johns Hopkins – but then what? Where to from there? Keep driving, turn around? Left, right? To the seas again? Do I taste salt water? or do I feel the heat radiating off of New York City?