I hit the road at two in the afternoon. There is a giddiness in me to be back at home, but even with that feeling I choose to avoid the interstate. I’d rather see something pretty along the way, and I-40 isn’t my idea of pretty. I turn south on Highway 117 to El Malpais National Monument. Beautiful desert landscapes, including sandstone bluffs;
And ‘la ventana’ natural arch:
Soon though, the sun sets and I am left with the decision to keep driving through to home (with my less-than-stellar eyesight), or stop and sleep in AZ but not in Prescott. I keep driving. Through Springerville and Heber, Payson, and Dewey. I lose the scenery in the darkness, sometimes in snow and fog too. I drive faster than I should, I just want to be home. And then… I AM.
And when I get there I am faced with a conundrum. It is nearly midnight, I don’t have a key to my mom’s house, and I don’t want to wake her up just to let me sleep. The solution presents itself in the form of an invitation to meet friends out downtown. A night of smiles and conversation with friendly faces in a familiar environment – just the ticket.
It’s odd though, driving into my hometown. For the first time in four months I am not lost. I do not need a map or a notepad with scribbled direction to get where I want to go. I turn my navigational mind off and just let my body take itself where we need to be. Without a single squint at a road sign I arrive, and am entirely unconcerned about whether there is a walmart nearby to sleep in, or scoping out coffee shops for tomorrow’s fix. It is odd, but it is good. I am home for now.
I’ll be leaving again in a few weeks, the road still calls to me and my journey is not yet complete. But, for now, I am happy: