In February of this year, I flew to Portland, Oregon for an interview at Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. I had applied for their masters in acupuncture program several months earlier and I had reached the final stage. Turns out that my interview was interrupted by a blizzard that blew into town, but no amount of Mother Nature could stop the wheels that had started to turn. If accepted, I was moving to Portland. A few months later I asked my lady friend if she would come with me on our cross country journey and she said yes.
So at the end of June, we took off on our 2600 mile journey from New Orleans to Portland. It was a touch four days of driving, with a lot of this:
And then there was a lot of this:
And of course Neville Chauncy was not at all amused for most of the ride:
And then finally after we had passed even more of this
We finally arrived into a new land of new vistas:
Of course we had to stop along the way to eat and not just a few times we found ourselves in places with delightful wall decor. My Lady Friend was always amused
And then we finally arrived in our new little house in the NE of Portland.
Driving across the country I suppose could be some sort of romantic adventure, something alluding to a kind of transcendental exploration of the great unknown or maybe a funky reference to the beatniks hitching across the country or cruising in an old school bus drinking LSD lemonade and watching the sunset in remote parts of the dusty western landscape. The truth of the modern journey I think is that it is oppressively hot in the desert, poor New Mexico is one derelict town after another, and that driving through terra cotta mountains and across empty expanses of sand and scrub brush is not particularly heartwarming. I will concede though that there were moments where I wondered if my Lady Friend and I weren’t the only people in the whole of that place, when we were the only cars for miles and the horizon seemed an eternity away.
But I didn’t find those metaphysical moments to be the inspiring elements of Thoreau or Emerson; instead I found myself to be like Wordsworth’s canoeman, knowing that the sublime waited just around the next bend in the river, but at the moment where he would encounter it, he turned his craft around and headed back downstream. Maybe I was afraid of it because I had a place I wanted us to be. Maybe it’s because I didn’t feel like I was positioned to give over to the landscape. Maybe it’s because I hate sand and generally the orange color of the southwest. I’m not sure what it was, but I think I will have to go back to that wasted part of the world again and see what it was that might have been waiting for me there.