On a road trip of 1700 miles from Chicago to Tucson, the light that is the natural beauty of the southwest turns on like magic at the Oklahoma-New Mexico border, along Route 40.
Perhaps appropriately, cell reception drops off as we cross the line, silencing the podcasts, news of the day and classic rock music that had filled the car since the trip began two days ago.
In the quite-- accompained only by the hum of tires along the roadway-- fatigue from the drive fades.
We watch as distant buttes appear cloaked in shadow, creating stones of black along the horizon. Drawing closer, the black gives way to subtle shades of pink and brown. White feathered clouds appear in the light blue skies.
The change in the landscape is repeated as we drive on towards Santa Rosa—our stopping place for the night-- as if god himself is painting the landscape.
Along the way, we make a few cell phone images from the car, new additions to a jokingly, half-serious series we call “drive by shootings.”
The silence, broken only by occasional conversation, as the landscape melds into what I had dreamt of the many months back home: mountains of many shades cloaked in colors not seen in the midwest. There's an unmistakable feeling that something is at work here, something that I don't sense at home. Something terribly missed.
When our cell reception returns, the blare of CNN no longer works as a backdrop to what we see and feel. Instead we dial in Chopin, Beethoven and Bach, a much better fit for the magic.
It goes without saying
Words of others that speak to me
“I refer to nature’s beauty as my ballast in the storms of life. Seeing the beauty that surrounds me, and surrounds everyone, every day reminds me there is so much that is good in our world and gives me hope that the arc of history moves towards peace and kindness and beauty.” --Photographer William Neill