The History of Moments
Good afternoon my friends, I hope your day is bright and full of cheer. I thought I would touch base with you all, this time though not making a political statement or giving my small but yet important views on the subjects of our times, but to have a conversation.
One late afternoon day in the fall when I was living in the city of Little Rock Arkansas I took a stroll across the Big Dam Bridge overlooking the Arkansas River and the Murray Lock and Dam. As I was walking over to the North Little Rock side of the river I saw the water as it was rushing under the bridge, as if it were going somewhere, perhaps it was. When I arrived on the north side of the river I noticed a mound of rocks piled up on the side of the walkway, it appeared that someone placed them there for my viewing. Thank you for the pile of rocks.
As I sat down for a brief respite I looked upon the river so wide, the millions of cubic feet flowing past me as it made its way to the grand river of them all, the Mighty Mississippi. But the flow was going in an eastward direction, my mind was in the west. The trees were just changing their colors from the summer green to the red and yellow fire of autumn, I marveled at natures wonderment, I asked myself, “How could this be?” Still I marveled. I saw children frolicking about with their parents, and bicycle riders whizzing by, it seemed that they were going somewhere too, perhaps they were. My mind began to play that ballad, take me down to the boat on the river, and I won’t cry out anymore. Yes I did see the boats, some large, some small, but they were all floating like a whisper through the channels, what a beautiful sight.
As I was walking back to my car, yes across the bridge I paused my steps over the lock and dam, did I say my thoughts were in the west, I think so. I turned to my right and placed my hands on the steel bars and began to look out to the west, over that seemingly endless river. At that moment in time both my mind and my heart began to drift aimlessly into the sunset, and it was there my heart cried out for home. As the tears flowed from my cheeks and into the river, my homesickness was for my beloved California, my beloved Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and my hometown of Monterey Park. Only to touch her soil, only to feel the sands that have been there for a millennia, only to bend down and give her the gentlest of kisses. My heart was hungering for home. As the sun dipped its brightness just passed the horizon, I said someday, somehow, I would return to that place, the place of my birth, someday the place of my renewal.
The very same thing happened again, and yes on the banks of that same river, but in another city. The city this time was Wichita Kansas. Like I had done before, I did there in a quiet place on the banks surrounded by a storm of city traffic and noise, but I sat quietly with repose. I had made it back to the river, the water as it was flowing past me heading south toward the Oklahoma-Kansas state line into Oklahoma. I silently replied to that river yet again, I will return to my home.
It was a late summers morning, about 4:00 am, the trip thoroughly planned out, examining every possibility, every sign, every curve, I began to make my way, yes across that same river, but this time in Tulsa Oklahoma. I did hear the river ask me, “my Erica where are you going?” I replied as the music from a Tulsa rock station was playing in the background, “I am going home”. Tulsa gave way to Oklahoma City, then Amarillo Texas, paralleling the mother road Route 66. West of Amarillo the Great Plains of America gave way to a desert wind as I entered New Mexico. There was Tucumcari, Cline Corners, Moriarty, and then Albuquerque, and it was there I rested.
As I awoke the next morning, and after drinking my coffee and sorting through my emails, I departed. Yes the darkness was on the face of the deep desert floor, and the vastness of Interstate 40 West was calling me forward. Grants-Milan was looming in the distance as I traversed over the Continental Divide. As I passed through Gallup, though it was only a blur, I continued to race forward, reaching for the Arizona state line. As I crossed over the sun was coming up over the eastern horizon. I looked upon the desert floor, it appeared to be on fire. Holbrook gave way to Winslow, names like Jackrabbit, you know western names, and the Twin Arrows, then into Flagstaff. Country Host on Butler Avenue was a good bet, very good breakfast.
Yes I saw that first sign on exit 201, it said Los Angeles, I knew I was going in the correct direction. I kept going. There was Williams, Ash Fork, Seligman, and then Kingman. Just south of Kingman I gazed upon the Arizona Death Star, actually it looked like a giant golf ball, but you won’t get any argument out of me. As I passed Yucca a familiar scent entered my nostrils, it was a sweet scent, the scent of that California desert air as it was beginning to greet me saying, “hey Erica, I’m over here!” I began to pay careful attention to the mile markers as they began to dwindle into nothingness. The water tower to my right, the natural gas bridge to my left, and the approach dead ahead. Yes I had finally made it to the river of them all, the Mighty Colorado.
As my heart was racing a million light years a second, I saw the blue waters under the bridge and the sign of all signs saying, “Welcome to California!” In an instant I felt all the sadness vanish as if it were being deposited into the Colorado River, and my heart was filled with delight. Yes I have finally made it home, but I wasn’t through just quite yet. A stop in Needles for gas and grub, and refills on water and food, why you would ask, between Needles and Barstow stood the Great Barrier, taunting me, daring me to cross its path, I was counting the angels on the head of the pin, and I took it on. I did take time to bend down and kiss the ground.
There was Water Road, Kelbaker, and Essex Roads, then the lonely towns of Ludlow and Newberry Springs. Daggett and Barstow was dead ahead. As I saw exit 1 on I-40W I knew that I was almost there, just an overpass and I-40W was just a distant memory. As I-15S was in sight I knew this was it, a fuel and food stop on Lenwood Road, and then to put on my game face, next stop, right into the heart of the lion. Angeltown here I come. As I traversed the Small Barrier between Barstow and Vickorville, I knew I had but one obstacle left, that was Cajon Pass into the Inland Empire. And then I saw it, the freeway I had been looking for the I-10, San Bernadino Freeway, I knew I had finally made it. Next stop my hometown Monterey Park, and it felt good to be home. As I got out of my car, I knelt down, gave the pavement of the parking lot a gentle pat, and bent down and caressed it with my lips, for the taste was sweet in my mouth, as the palms rustled in the California wind.
There is not too many consequential places in my life, but The ones I mentioned above, and my birthplace of southern California. Don’t get me wrong I am not devoid of human emotion, but I still get emotional about those San Gabriel Mountains to the north, and the ocean to my west. It is there that I am at peace, it is there that I feel safe, it is there that I feel comforted. For the soil is rest to my feet, the salt air of the ocean is respite to my soul. Thank you for listening. Peace.