My history of running away has nearly as many photos as stories. One photo is missing: the first running away. At least the first one I know about. That was on my tricycle in Arkansas on a dirt road. But there are other photos–and other stories. Whenever a place, city, home, people became claustrophobic, for whatever reason, I packed up and ran to some other place with a view.
Then I bought a house. Well, we bought a house and we married. It’s exponentially harder to pack up and leave your own home and a happy marriage. So I get in the car and drive.
Last week, I felt trapped by city. As many of you know, most of my growing up was on a farm in Kansas. But even before, in Arkansas, in the small Kansas prairie town where we moved before the farm, my eyes ranged through miles of space.
That’s what a horizon looks like. Ergo, one week ago, the urge to run-away-to-space strong, I got in the car and drove south. I got close to Belton, Missouri, south by some fifteen miles (by the way I was going on back roads) before I got to country.
Here is the transition point. I’d passed a large tree farm and into open land when I came to railroad tracks. And there I was, between an open field with dried grasses and city graffiti.
The car and I ducked under a railroad bridge and kept driving south.
I stopped here, on the side of the road, and watched the wind–it doesn’t take much to make a willow dance. The weather warm and sunny and the humidity pulled from the pond fuzzed everything like an Impressionist painting. I could live here. There’s even a little dock and a boat for Cliff to go sit in the middle of the pond and fish. That would probably change the painting from a Monet to a Renoir. My shoulders softened and my breathing deepened. This is what I’d come to see although I couldn’t have told you that when I left my driveway.
On down the road, I reached the real destination: someone who talked farm stories.
I stopped because it was such a great shot: tree etchings across the sky and old rust etchings on machinery and everything softened in the warm afternoon air. I’d parked at the edge of the driveway leading up to this scene and taken my shots when I heard a tractor behind me. The driver slowed alongside and pulled around my car to get into the driveway. I couldn’t resist. Following him up the driveway, I put the car into park while he got off his tractor.
After we introduced ourselves, our talk rambled through farm and family stories and books. Because he’d grown up in a storytelling family, he read books; because I’d grown up in a storytelling family, I wrote stories and poems. He pulled out a little brown notebook and wrote down the name of my book. He’d have to get it, he said. So that was nice, but what was even better was talking story and history. People who live on the land talk about land. Oh, yes, and weather. We talked about weather.
6 thoughts on “Photo Story: Again With The Running Away”
My mother is the one with itchy feet in our family. She’s the only person I know who gets exited in airports. I am the exact opposite–I hate traveling, any kind of traveling (in a car, in a plane, it doesn’t matter–it’s all awful.) But I like reading about other places, so good job.
Hi Stacey..well, I’m probably old enough to be your mother so perhaps it’s a generational thing! I’ve now lived in Kansas City for fifteen years – the longest I’ve lived anywhere in my entire life, including my childhood. It’s very strange. I have a stack of travel articles from the NY Times…places I’ll get to eventually (I imagine), so I like reading about them….don’t know how much of my to-do list will get done, however. I’m so glad you enjoyed reading it. Thanks so much for commenting.
I love your meandering on back roads and the pictures you took. . I was born in Texas. We moved to Mississippi because my dad decided he wanted to farm. My family visited my mother’s small- town home in Alabama every summer where her father grew cotton. I rightly inherited love of the land. I heard conversations about land and weather but never once went out to start one of my own. I missed something.
It’s never too late for good conversations!
Thanks so much for your comment and your faithful reading. I took over my mother’s habit of talking to about anyone. And would you believe, I’m a high introvert. But I love love love stories. And I’ve heard some great ones. And some not so great, but you never know where one might be hidden. Sometimes at the edge of a silo….
i love to run, too, and I love good road music. Roll down the windows, crank up the volume, and just go. I need to uproot myself a bit and have at least a day trip. It’s easy to get stuck in daily routine, when there’s no real reason to do so.
I especially like that last photo. Very nice.
As in “On the Road Again…” That’s the song that runs through my head and the Texas in me. No bluebonnets to go look at but the windy shore birds must be flying these days. I miss being near the water – the reflections of a changing sky, the wind across waves. Transitions, transitions, transitions. Go see what you find and let me know. J.