a faint, pastel sunrise begins to glow after a couple hours of driving through the staggering murky peaks of glacier national park. soon horses and cows dot alternating green and yellow pastures that plane and roll endlessly in all directions under the creeping orange of daylight. small, crusty towns like browning, montana, punctuate these long stretches of highway with clusters of mobile homes and old pickup trucks and maybe a wooden saloon and the red neon lights of motel or two. this is the WILD WEST- the space, the sky, the sunrise, and the mountains.
by the time we get lunch in the badlands we have been on the road for nine hours. these sluggish tourist traps that hang amidst snarling cliffs will also soon fade harmlessly past our windows. we're cruising up to fargo, north dakota, and might need to get more gas and coffee. soon the air smells like mowed grass and blossoming trees and asphalt at minnesota's first rest stop and i find that i miss the salty air of that last night in seattle and even the mild portland breeze. a grey glaze of midwest clouds accompanies another time change. we're picking up someone else in minneapolis and four-strong (melody, her friend adam, and another yet-to-be-introduced friend are heading to chicago for a wedding) we will charge into another midnight and across another highway and county and community of star-sleeping america.
this is almost it. a long time ago i'd taken certain songs and books maybe too seriously and had badly wanted to go somewhere where no one knew my name. now here has been lived the long-dreamed opportunities for the life always wanted and which has since unfolded in a way i could have never ever, ever, ever imagined, given to me through acknowledgements of faith and risk and relationships and trusting and the taking and directing of these small steps. even right this second there's a passing white billboard with green print that simply says, 'be grateful.' don't worry, sign. i am.
and now as i count miles and subtract hours i also wonder
what is my responsibility in returning from all this?
i prepare to return to illinois with my palms nearly as empty as when i'd left three hundred and eighty-two days ago with no bank account and four hundred dollars cash in pocket. but my heart is full and excited and my head maybe just as inspired and, if nothing else, i feel more alive and content and spiritually aware and rationally relational because of this specific rubbing of time and people and places and through the continual seeking of wisdom and stature with both God and man. i don't think that life is ever going to be the same- but i don't care if it is or isn't or will or won't because, nonetheless, this life has remained life in its daily, unfolding manner and i hope that i've made the most of it. i think i have.
the plan then is this- to pray, to love, and to keep trying to do the right thing and hopefully inspire the next guy to do the same. help me?
thank you for both physically and vicariously staying with me and being a part of this adventure. i mean it. i never expected that a one-way flight to vancouver could turn into so much (i bet that the canadian border patrol wouldn't have ever guessed that either, but we're cool). even on the very first day (with a now infamous slurpee in hand) i could feel reason and purpose for starting to write and observe. now the momentum and people and places has continued to grow and build and connect and it's all coming back home.
what else is there to say.
thank you family. thank you new and old friends. thank you God.