I put off writing this post all day (I type them out in the car as we drive) because I’m a little hesitant to wrap up day four. By writing out a little synopsis of day four, I’m also acknowledging the imminent presence of day five, and day five, well, day five is when we arrive. To be honest, I’ve grown comfortable and safe in the small cab of this truck. That suspended time I mentioned earlier this week, it’s almost over. On the road the pressures of new apartments, unpacking, first days of school, new jobs, new people - all of that looming reality is on a temporary hold. It’s been like a short respite from responsibilities - just me, Andrew, and the landscape. Friends, it’s been nice, enchanting even.
Please don’t misunderstand though - I’m ready to be home, but this warm, safe feeling being nestled in the mountains away from it all, well, it’s a little intoxicating and a bit hard to give up so soon.
If possible, I loved Montana even more than South Dakota. Wyoming was lovely, it was, but Montana, oh Montana, those rivers running parallel to the highway, sandwiched by the mountains and the road, they make my stomach flip a bit.
I want to tell you about the trees, about how I wanted to name them even more than the cows, their grand, green tops and slim, elegant trucks lending themselves to names like Edward, Madeline, and Henry.
I met a girl in a coffee shop in Missoula that lived their her whole life except for a time after college when she moved to Seattle. She said that it was odd, being near the ocean after being surrounded by mountains her whole life, and she moved home. She said, looking off, “What a strange time that was.” It made me think about how I’ve been feeling on this trip, leaving Savannah after 8 years, the south after nearly, what, 16? Mom, can you confirm this? Every state we pass through, every change in landscape and climate, I’ve felt a little more at ease, a little more like we are, in fact, going home. It’s like something on this far side of the country has been calling us, whispering our names at night, and finally, here we are making our way. It’s that feeling you get when you know, deep down, without any concrete confirmations, that you are going, doing really, exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, going where you’re meant to go. I shook my head at the girl in the coffee shop because I already knew what she meant- Savannah feels a bit strange. I’m thankful for it, every minute. It gave me a family of friends, good jobs, a top notch husband, a beautiful wedding, nearly three years in a lovely apartment, and plenty of time to think, change, and sort it all out. But being out here these past four days, taking it all in, watching it pass by, I feel certain that my home, the one that girl felt so sure of in the coffee shop, well, it’s coming, and I feel lucky to be on my way.
There’s chocolate cake in a box next to me waiting for its turn as a treat once we reach the hotel. Very soon we’ll be in Idaho and in a blink we’ll be in Washington, getting our last hotel room of the trip, watching our last little bit of television for quite a while, sneaking down for our last late night cola from the vending machine.