Monday, March 26, 2007

Road Trip Wrapup

That's a misleading phrase, though, since nothing is ever really wrapped up, tied up in a nice neat little bow, and finished with no loose ends dangling. Rather, events, dreams, memories, photographs: they all linger on, and resonate down the line, for months and years to come.

I've been telling people, since I got back, that things are changed: something permanent, in me, has changed, as a result of this month-long road trip, that I have now been back from, for another month. I can't make a list, as some changes I'm not able to articulate; other changes, more mundane, are scarce worth mentioning. I've of course written about them elsewhere, mostly for my own sake. (Because writers write; and I am a writer, even if I think of myself as a musician and artist first.)

I do my best thinking during those long drives, and when I stop to take photos and just look at the land and listen to the wind. The long drives integrate things that would not otherwise mesh: insight, opportunity, the proper unfolding of the Universe. Those long drives, and the people you meet, and the moments you experience, each exactly what they were supposed to be, with exactly the right timing, if only we'd pay close attention, are enough to turn you Taoist. It all seems inevitable, in memory. It couldn't have gone a different way, because that would have made another Universe, not this one I'm writing about, now.

The many-worlds theorem in some versions of quantum physics: each choice, each turn, or at least each strongest turn and choice that affects a macrocosm, branches off a new Universe, a new limb on the Tree of Life. With imagination, and vision, we can see those other branches of the Tree—and see when they cast a shadow on our own world. And we can see where we might have gone: what might have happened.

It will take me months to sort through and get to know the many thousands of photos I took on this road trip. The trip had several purposes, several reasons for making it, and taking photos was one of the prime movers. Eventually, I'll make art, and art-films, out of the images gathered from the journey. Some will get printed, perhaps gallery-hung, perhaps just gifted.

My favorite days? Those days spent in the lonely places: the empty places, the silent (except for the sounds of wave and wind and bird) places, the places where you can be alone for a long time before meeting another, encountering that other self that is your mirror, this moment; the places where nothing happens, everything is still, and the world seems to catch and hold its breath, if just for a moment. Those eternal silences, eternal moments that can fit into a nanosecond, in between louder times. An afternoon of this blissful silence serves to heal a month of overstimulation and an equal time of pointless worries. You come to center, and extend: and everything stops, and you are still, needing nothing, needing to do nothing: just being.

I could be talking about driving as meditation, photography as Zen. I suppose I am.

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