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Highway One (Oh, One)

We drive down Highway 1 overwhelmed by thoughts of past and present. The way of the road is, in fact, where we find our truest selves. And so, we drive.

Thoughts form in lost minutes and hours on the road, while light comes and goes as it pleases. In those moments, blood pressures drop to even levels, and the ubiquitous gathering of earth, sky, and sea brings with it a revealing of human consciousness. And for what? To remind life, as it’s experienced, that home is not a place, but rather a contrast of up and down. A contrast of fast to slow. And an indebtedness to being exactly where you are.

Arriving is the traveler’s loneliest thought. But really, every place you’ve arrived is yet another place you have not yet left. There is no arriving. Only going. Pressing on. The importance, as always, is being. Whether here or there, presence is the only characteristic that glues together memories to moments. When the road gets long and straight, the thoughts get deep and sharp. But in that moment, we find who we are. Something that cannot, and should not, be changed.

Every sojourn equally dulls and piques the senses as much as it both softens and sparks the mind. Hours of silence. Moments of laughter. All embark on the idea that, however precious the destination, the journey is far more precious. Never at fault, and never wrong, our experience of the road is the real reason for the final vista, or friend, or foe. Without the journey our contrast fades, and our sense of fast or slow is unchanged. We all journey, after all, for change. Be it a change. Or the change.

In the end, we all arrive. Truly arrive. As the sunset bends it’s final rays, we leave our trusted friend after days, or even months, to soak in the time spent escaping and seeking. Every mark of oil beneath its four strong legs brings a recollection of the brown box, and the roadside escapes made to capture the last light of the day. Journeys are never long enough, but rather, just as long as they needed to be. The road is always wanting, ever inviting, and, of course, ready for the next. It is we who need to hear the calling, and respond at every chance.

There’s no real place to go from here. You can only be. You can be in the presence of life, traveling at inhuman speeds through forest, dune, and open air just the same. In each setting, thoughts ebb and flow like the western tide, or the impending turns of the road ahead. This is the point. The essence of the road is unpredictable. Never the same from trip to trip. And never to be traveled the same way again.