Word Portraits: The Drive

A photo-graphic series

Photo: Me

The two lane stretches onward, its curved pavement snaking around the mountain contour. All around, remnants of a quickly dying autumn dot the landscape. Foliage of gold and crimson blanket the mountain ground, while the last of resolute leaves cling hopefully to otherwise barren branches. Soon this land will turn a dark brown, as the nights get longer and the air gets colder, but for now we just take in the view, admiring it while we are able.

“Can you believe how quickly this year has gone by?” The passenger’s voice cracks through still air, rupturing the low hum of the FM radio.

“Too quick,” I say, watching the road before me.

I think about all that’s happened this year. The birth of my niece. The decline in my father’s memory. The plots playing out across the world — Brexit, Syria, the rise of Donald Trump. How I am one year older, one day closer to the end — and yet all I want is for life to slow down, for all of humanity to get along and for the world to straighten up so Love has a chance at peace in her time on Planet Earth.

“Look!” the passenger says, interrupting my thought. In a clearing outside the window, past barren hillside trees, a buck stands regally. His head is lowered to the ground, his pointed snout rummaging through some dropped apples.

“One, two, three…” The passenger counts the number of points on the deer’s antlers. “Nine. A nine point. Too bad it’s not gun season yet.”

I nod my head in agreement. A nine point would make suitable game, and the meat from the creature would feed a family or two for some time.

In a week , the unlucky fellow may find himself unsuspecting prey to an eager hunter. But for now, he is free to just go about his business, eating ground apples with no care.

A news bulletin screeches through the radio. I twist the volume button so the sound is more audible.

“President-elect Donald Trump announced Sunday that he had chosen Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to serve as his chief of staff. He also announced that Stephen K. Bannon, his former campaign CEO, would serve as his chief strategist and counselor…”

“That’s real smart,” the passenger quips. “Appoint a white supremacist as counsel.”

I shake my head in disbelief. The irony of the Star of David dangling from the rear view mirror is not lost on me. Glancing into the mirror, I watch the regal buck continue his carefree feast.

“I’m not sure Mr. Buck is the only one who will soon have to worry,” I say, my eyes falling back to the never ending road before me.

The passenger says nothing, though his blank expression screams agreement. On we go in silence, our carefree autumn drive our only worry. For now, at least, we’re safe.


This is the sixth installment in Word Portraits, an original photo-graphic series that appears every Tuesday. More from this series: