Saturday, May 5, 2007
sleeping on the floorboards of churches
Traveling leaves you with so many names. The names of passing towns, of people met, of roads ridden and rivers crossed. You collect them. Like sea shells. Or dead starfish. So far our inventory of names is somewhat small, a modest offering of syllables and stringed memes, but they are wide and amplified; they are heavy like water: Elsa Bakkum and the grace of her aptly-named church; Lewis Haynes and his willingness to inconvenience himself and teach us how to lock unruly doors; Ray the Mountain Climber and his ropy advice; the encouraging sagaciousness of Heidi Holliday's registry scribbles; the triumphant and multi-syllabic Chickahominy River, over whose waters Dave and I high-fived each other; the cornicopia that is the forgivably-named Ukrops; the likewise-curiously-named VA encumbent, Trip Chalkley; Ashland, VA and its life-saving coffeehouse; the counter-intuitively engineered Charles City Road; the nameless formerly-comatose-motorcycle-accident-survivor we encountered at Horizon Food Mart (large eyes; toothless; purple corduroy shirt); the hope of Success, MO (more on this city to come....), etcetc.
We sing to ourselves. We stretch when we can. We eat bread and cheese and bananas voraciously. We cook with olive oil and wear sunblock and drink coffee at every available opportunity. We breathe in deep mountain air and feel with satisfaction as the avenues of our lungs are cleared of their New York debris. We coast down steep hills, bordered on both sides by the unimganiable green of the American countryside, and, automatically, like clockwork, as though we've been doing this for weeks now, we throw our fists in the air with excitement. We yelp.
This is Day Two. Dave, for reasons you can reference above, has named his iron steed Elsa. (the regalia! the nostalgia!) I, for similar reasons, have named mine Heidi Holliday (or, alternately, Mama Xi...or, when i'm feeling ambitious about the trip, Portlandia...) 110 miles down, a few thousand to go....