You know those days when it’s blue and bright and you’re on the road? And the signs over the highway say that if you keep going this way you’ll end up in a city you’ve always wanted to see, and you just want to step down on the gas pedal, skip your exit, and roll on south, east, west. The desire for movement sits in the empty spaces behind your solar plexus and in the skin around your eyes. It’s not that you need to escape, exactly, although the idea of escape is often appealing: it’s just that when you’re moving all you have to focus on is the movement.
We took a lot of road trips when I was growing up, including a six-month one around the entire contiguous USA. I find the motion of a car soothing. Nowadays I don’t own a car, though, and generally the longest I get to drive anywhere in the food truck is forty-five minutes or so. Those drives are nice; I just miss the long, straight stretches, two-lane highways and too much coffee, naps in gas station parking lots, neat and anonymous motel rooms. Mountains. Cornfields. Horizons.
Cabin fever, I guess. No cure for it but moving forward.
It’s the kind of day where the air is so cold it feels liquid. There’s a scene in A Swiftly Tilting Planet where Gaudior tries to teach Charles Wallace to drink moonlight, and that’s what days like this always feel like to me: that the world is full of water so cold and exquisitely clear that it’s become nearly intangible.
I think these things to make myself feel better about the prospect of spending nine hours in a metal box outside selling pies. Wish me luck.
I loved Seattle this summer. There’s something about these cities of mountains and sea — in clear weather in summer, they become jewel-like, faceted and glimmering.
But I find, more and more, that winter is what I associate with Seattle, in that part of the hindbrain where scent memories live. When I was young, we generally went to the Midwest in summer and to Seattle in fall or winter, to escape Alaska’s snow and dark.
Winter Seattle is more of a watercolor than an HD scene. I don’t know what it is about the green leaves under gray skies against muted gray walls that’s so heart-touching. The moisture in the air feels fresh in your lungs, and the fog that wraps the city like a blanket from dusk to dawn encourages thoughts of fireplaces and quilts.
And throughout, things grow. Bushes and trees keep their leaves and grass stays green, though everything seems to demur close attention in the gray chill. This is the off-season; come see us in summer. But any green at all is a miracle to an autumn child from the snow.