Thursday, August 1, 2013

NOLA to Texas (Or Monsoon Highway)

Stories From The Road
July 5, 2013

Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" punctuated the 6 A.M. air from a neighbor's window. Remnants of a July 4th cookout swirled around me standing in the middle of the street. A skateboard from Lew's Fickleboards, my Fat Angie hoodie from Linda Sanders and an Adidas bag of this and that hung beside the car tire.

It was travel day.

The Tetris precision of this box of books verses that duffel of clothes began before sunrise. I had hoped to outrun a dense multi-mile storm swirling in from the Gulf of Mexico. Growing up on the Gulf near Corpus Christi, Texas, I knew the kind of sky billow-pile-swell that was around me. That sky had something to say, and I was listening.

Twenty minutes into the back and forth of loading up the car, sweat soaked my shirt. It lined up to sprint from my shoulders to lower back.

Pack cooler.
Arrange snack bag.
Don't crush the generic loaf of bread.

Drip-drop drizzle.

You can imagine my lack of thrilled with the possibility of shifty weather. The Tuscaloosa behemoth was not an out of sight out of mind kind of thing. But we had to get on the road. Storm or not.

I said my good-byes to Margaret who had given my camera person and me a place to stay in Mid-City.  She presented us with spray painted, recycled clipboards for our Image Releases with her righteous signature stencils. 

I said aloha to my dear friend and crushed my body into new kinds of small in the driver's seat. The camera person contorted with a flood of camera, sound gear and a bound book of maps at her side and feet. We needed to be hundreds and hundreds of miles away from New Orleans, LA in a very short amount of time. We needed to make Weatherford, Texas.

The sky had other plans. As I said, it had a lot to say.

A light rain was the prologue to an otherwise dramatic first few chapters of the day's story. Clouds. Low hanging. Questionable circulation. Let's say my tension was high. The rain poured in whipping sheets.

It was fast.
(all kinds of wind).

At one point, we turtled across a Louisana bridge with dozens of motorists with local plates as well as Texas, Mississippi, Nebraska and Illinois. It doesn't take a Sherlock to make note of such things when your crawling along, hoping for Mother of the Nature to take five on the sky cry.

Did I mention I don't like storms.
I don't like cars.
I don't like traffic.
I don't like any of these things, and this is an absolute certainty.

With the wind and rain at peak wreak havoc, I looked at my right forearm. There it was. The tattoo that was to be a reminder to slow down. To breathe ... love.

So I did ... try.

About an hour and half into this Tom Foolery of weather, we caught what one might call a break. We came out on the other side. We had outrun the monsoon that would flood and roar across Louisiana that day. I thanked the Universe, the Goddess, God, Buddha, (it's important to cover many basis in the wake of a lucky break), and then soared down the highway in blue skies and super stupendous sun all a shine.

Somewhere in the transition from big rain to dry sky, I felt the fear of a repeat of Day One on the road lift. I thought, "Just let go and breathe. Breathe love."

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