It began by sneaking out beneath an early morning in backwater Kentucky. We were chased out of town by their skies´ notorious peaches and blues that still managed to tatter a Winter-touched above… Kentucky´s up was only equalled by its below…a chilly land, ridden with a slue of surprisingly bright grays and browns. The Bible-belt´s bluegrass boy waved us on our way´til we vanished as far from them as they did from us…out of sight.
Next came the politically charged sprawl of Illinois´landscape. Everywhere you could see, smokey swirls, both tidy and unruly, stretched their long necks into the sky, at the behest of the busy fires from within toasty homes. Broken, unfinished and survivingrang through the stories that hung in the air. A hodgepodge collection of half-finished, and half-destroyed brick buildings line the major streets of the town, testifying to a city that has planned to live for quite sometime now, but struggled little more than survive… The tale for so many. Grandiose Beautiful props its prowess up from within the crowd of weather-stained brick, as sporadically the cities broken sense of family is accentuated further as healthy church spires peer down at all the gang tagged, lost and hurt people´s pastimes below.
As soon as you would start to really listen to Illinois´ story, St. Louis jumps out from behind the clouds with nothing short of architectural zeal. The St. Louis Arch, despite its prowess, is quickly placed in its time, as seemingly smaller buildings in its distance quickly surpass it along their push toward where the developing storm dwells… it´s a quaint brilliance now. Haha, a giant Arch…such a guy idea; Only rivaled by the follow-up idea of putting an elevator than traced the Arch´s journey from the inside out more like a roller-coaster than anything else. I half expected the elevator ride to be promoted as,
Come one, Come all…RIDE the HELLEVATOR.
At the end of which, the elevator would shoot you out the end, attached to a bungeechord that would land you and your group of fellow few into a giant St. Louis Cardinals baseball mitt…and then depending on how far your jump made the mitt retreat to catch you, you would then get handed a comparative amount of coupons down below the ride for that amount of Gap and/or Starbucks gift certificates. Despite the mind-wandering and the surprising complete vacancy at such a sight as the Arch, it did maintain its intended hope…to make people stop in their tracks…inevitably pull off the side of the road, or drift off as they multi-tasked not taking their eyes off either it or the lane they were barely keeping their swerving in…and simply say “Wow.”
Enter a one Lincoln, Nebraska. What might you ask is in Lincoln, Nebraska. Well…we were. And I think there was some other stuff, but in the dead of night with a wind that literally feels like a group of swarming, chilly vampires, sucking the blood right from your body every timeyou stray from the car or house…yeah, not the most gentle of places to say the least. I loved every minute of the dreaded cold though. Something about the inescapable truth of it all…no matter what you think, or how you perceive it, or what others encourage you to think about it…that kind of creation, that kind of cold simply has a way of treating everyone the same…it´s nips and bites and stings at every exposed part you leave for the wind to feed on.
It was quite an adventure laughing wildly from within a struggling-to-stay-warm car as my Dad and I watched the temperature drop to a wild 8 below zero. Equally humbling and wonderful was how no matter how brief you felt your stint outside was, it still took a good few minutes of coughing and lung-stinging from within the warmth of your car for your body to re-acclimate to anything not flippin´ 8 below. Temperature watching in Lincoln…one day I´ll have to visit in the light of day and see what other things God has put there to let Life feast on.
Next on the journey…Cheyenne Wyoming and its many layers… Now we´re talking! Having only had one experience prior to this with Wyoming (Jackson Hole) I was really looking forward to this. Something about random little nooks and crannies way up and and amidst an otherwise very sparsely populated land…yeah, my heart just likes it a lot! Wyoming is kind of this perfect mix of isolation, quiet, raw nature, and small hunkered down towns smaller than most high schools…very cool!
We traversed the entire length of Wyoming´s southern border, visually treating ourselves to the typically overshadowed blessings of forgotten mountain Life, which almost always plays second fiddle to Colorado´s lore. Mountains of every size and shape impressively jutted out from beneath the snowy terrain. Old wise ones in the back towered like cold Kings, unable to be broached by all the smaller kid mountains crowding everything within earshot…like little emissaries they were.
The layers I spoke of were kind of cozy. The seemingly always fresh snow was one of them. Beneath the snow, many tumbleweeds-to- be flashed their many subtle, different, dried tans. Still further beneath those stood the remains of tall, frigid, cattle grass. Cowgirls grinning behind pinned up waitress hair and roughneck men crowded middle-of-nowhere truck stops restaurants just the right way!
After sleeping through much of Salt Lake City, Utah, which still does not excite me to adventure to this day, for whatever reason…we then finally reached the best part of the trip…At long, the long spoken of snow storm, that according to all the amateur, self-proclaimed meteorologists along our trip, should have been blanketing us with its white kiss for days on end now. Well, finally it was here!
It made our big bad Hummer look like a child´s toy. And so we went, blindly and slowly,reaching through the white night without a clue beyond, “easy does it.” Giant 18-wheelers, stopped dead in their tracks, dotted the roadside along our trek. We must´ve had to pass a huge, noisy snowplows every 100 feet or so…they always travelled in packs.
There were also Maverick chain-up guys making at least $2,000 a night everywhere there was a huge steel beast of a truck sitting dead-weight on the side of the open ice-way… Steaming and sighing like a great wounded beast, groaning as it had to inch back and then forth in order to get its rubber wounds dressed as needed with chain-drape. We also had to stop every few miles or so to get out and slam the window wipers up against the window, hoping that would knock the frozen solid ice off of what was scraping and slushing up the huge looking glass we were trying to survive through along our path.
All in all…it was a fairly eventful thing, this road trip! And most importantly it reminded me of just how much God wants us to Live, and Live abundantly! I was shown just how tame I had become in my surroundings… not entirely tame, but somewhat, which in many ways is worse…A slow and painful death, rather than an all at once, glorious outing. And so, even if it´s not a road trip, although I would highly recommend one, go, leave your safe shores, and just trust God in the way that is only to be called travelling. I don´t care if you have to Yes–Man it (new movie) and just show up with someone at an airline ticket counter, ask for the next available two tickets to wherever… the point is just go!
I imagine Jesus nowadays, much as He did then, would have been a road-tripper! And so too should his kids be. It doesn´t have to be anything fancy, as this is not the easiest time to save money and spend it on adventure, but for the sake of truly living…there will never be a price too steep if the motivations of your heart as as Christ´s are…true, pure, surrendered and incredibly enthused about this Life. So, at the risk of starting to sound like one of those horribly lame go-get-´em motivational books, I´m gonna stop with the travel chants of just go…and pray that people would be moved to instead, through God´s inspiration, think it a bit more creatively, a bit more spontaneously, and a bit more now to living this way.