Tunnel vision induces trance with its zen simplicity. The dashboard dials glow softly, suspended in velvety black shadow that has swallowed the emerald hued oak savannas, farms and ranches of the daylight drive. Now mere grey ghosts, grass, trees, and rock, flicker grainy black and white at the edges of the windshield. Consumed in small nocturnal bites, this road becomes all roads, all possibilities, past, present and future compressed in the universal song of a freedom-seeking body in motion.
Listening to Jack Keroac’s “On the Road” I dwell in dual realities: Keroac’s American west of the late 1940s and mine at the turn of the new millenium. Our times twine in the mesmerizing line of telegraphic dots and dashes painted on the pavement that leads us deeper into the mindscape of memory, metaphor and imagination. Keroac grooved to “mad jazz” on the radio while I pump customized playlists of lusty rock or dance and electronica thru my ipod when the fatigue of long days and late nights threatens to pull me under.
With normal senses contracted into a small bubble of pulsing, rhythmic sound, my hands and foot instinctively control my trajectory thru space with minor, mostly unconscious adjustments in arc and pressure to steering wheel and accelerator. The incessant vibration of the engine mingles with provocative bass and drum to awaken subtle sensations in my nether regions and I become aware of sanguine shifts in internal pressure as centrifugal force pushes the cells beneath my skin this way then that on the broad sweeping turns. My body has become an auto-erotic vessel riding the wheels that trace the curves and contours of the land like a lovers hand ...
Alert again, I can switch to a downtempo mix. The seductive boom and plaintive opening notes of Maroon 5’s sensual “Secret” pierce me like an arrow, lodging in a hidden compartment of unspeakable longing that sometimes breaks open on the open road, flooding my bloodstream with strange deepwater dwellers, all hungry eyes and mouths surging toward the surface, bursting thru the smooth facade of a life replete with satisfaction to stir unexpected ardor for something more...
Fragments of lyrics catch in my breast, flotsam in the flood of rising emotion:
“Our road is long, your hold is strong ... I know I don't know you, but I want you so bad... I’m driving fast now, Don’t think I know how to go slow ... Cool these engines, calm these jets, I ask you how hot can it get, and as you wipe off beads of sweat, slowly you say, ‘I’m not there yet... ‘ “I know I don’t know you, but I want you so bad.”
The sudden visceral ache for a nameless something beyond the visible horizon-is as palpable as the hunger for any flesh and blood lover. But what moon beckons this burgeoning tide of yearning?
K. D. Lang croons in Constant Craving, “Maybe some great magnet pulls all souls toward truth.”
Is the truth waiting beyond the reach of my night vision as K. D. suggests, “Life itself”: Do our hearts beat desire at the bidding of Life’s passion to know itself, to discover thru its pleasures its intrinsic wisdom, a deeper, more vibrant, lyrical and intricate ordering of consciousness and flesh than we can begin to comprehend?
Life seduces us with silver tongued promises whispered on dark, winding roads, tantalizes our imagination with possibilities--fresh vistas, new lights, unmet friends and lovers, heretofore inconceivable inspirations--waiting beyond the next alluring curve-. Mysterious attractors coax us to become conscious progenitors of meaning, thus increasing life’s lush and lusty measure--whether an idea, a child, a song, a painting, a home, a relationship, or a journey. Creativity begins with the spark of desire to move beyond familiar horizons, a more or less erotic rush into the unknown in hopes of giving form to the heretofore formless...
A hazard sign warns that deer are prone to leaping into the highway ahead. Others advise of concealed entrances, construction and hard turns. Who knows what other dangers threaten objects hurtling thru the inky darkness at 70 mph? But still the engine purrs--or is that me?--and I follow yet another broken line that stitches the north and east of my past to the south and west of my present.
Despite the knots and breaks in the thread, wanderlust, that irrepressible need to penetrate the mystery, reach higher, dive deeper, whether inward or outward, in darkness or light, remains needle sharp, mobilized by nothing less than radical trust--trust in the mortal vehicle that carries me, trust in the unseen laws that govern my trajectory, and trust in the intuitive intelligence that guides both wheel and driver toward fulfillment despite the obstacles hidden in the shadows of time and distance. How else can you explain the ecstasy of blind flight into the inscrutable future?