As we drove those long, long miles toward home all I could do was look out the window and stare at the outside world. Although I knew it was all standing still like it faithfully has since forever, I still felt like it was spinning.
Or more like I was being catapulted.
I was now being fast forwarded. Into what I wasn’t real sure.
It seemed like every forward rotation of the wheels underneath me were cutting a new path. Carving a painfully deep and new frontier.
I was now a foreigner in my own life. I was lost and simply allowing the road to carry me toward the unknown.
Everything outside — every tree, building, electric pole…everything became some kind of symbol of things speeding past in miles per hour. A blur of images blending into that month of June when my life changed forever. It was all melding together, merging into some kind of dream.
Every mile gained was a mile lost for me. As much as I didn’t want to, I was leaving it all behind.
Half way through, we crossed over into Mississippi. Right on the border of Louisiana and Vicksburg, MS, stands a bridge that crosses over the Mississippi River and links the states together.
What is it about approaching a colossal, arched iron bridge along a road trip that makes a heart skip a beat? Makes you sort of catch your breath and feel the sensation of being suspended in mid air? The wonder of it all sweeps over for a moment that you are no longer driving on solid ground…and are actually hovering over a real powerful natural waterway.
This bridge felt like some kind of gangplank to me. I thought maybe it might break loose and the river could swallow me whole. Yes. That would have been alright with me.
We pulled into the rest stop to take a little break.
Even though I’ve seen it before, I had to climb to the top of the hill there and look down at the river. I wanted to see it and smell the fresh air that swept over it. Feel the wind on my face. Breathe a little Mississippi air into my lungs to take home with me.
As I look at these pictures now, they don’t really satisfy me. I want to give a visual as to what a dichotomy it is and these photos don’t do that. In fact, they look kind of boring. These don’t give the river justice.
She’s more powerful in person than this.
It’s called the Mighty Mississippi. I know you’ve heard that, too.
Mighty, it is. So much water and the rushing, continuous movement gave the message that it really would swallow anything whole. Carry it from state to state without any effort at all. Drop it off deep into the salty gulf somewhere south.
But there was something else about it that struck me. Maybe it was the state I was in, I don’t know. The memory of it ingrained in my mind is not how grand and mighty it is.
It’s how peaceful it seemed to me.
In fact, it sort of hypnotized me.
And standing right there, halfway home, the realization swept over was grounded in me.
No matter what I felt or what I wanted. This whole thing was going to move forward.
Like all those miles we just drove. Like all that water swept under the bridge.
My son was gone. His days were all used up and passed away. My life with him was gone. Over.
Just like that.
Everything moves forward. I mean everything in this world.
That’s how things go in this life, I guess. On and on.
Even when you want so desperately to stop it all. Just stop time. Stop a minute. Please stop.
It doesn’t do that. For anyone.
So all I knew to do was be a passenger. Hop on a metaphorical raft.
Climb back into the backseat of the car. Give in. Relinquish.
And trust the path ahead.
I had to. No choice. I literally had to allow myself to be carried.
Into whatever the future holds for me.