Mar 5, 2010

Tumbling into openness

It was impossible to see the border. In the night, our headlights only lit the road and the moon only showed the silhouette of the mountain, jaggedy firs and bare boulders, signs for coming zig-zags and falling rocks.

“Do you think this is it?” my brother said. He had to shout. “Do you think we passed it?”

We had the windows rolled down and the air was getting cold as we climbed, sharper as spruce and fir grew thick. My brother was staring out into the wind as we went up the mountain and I was driving, watching where the road disappeared out in front of my headlights. We had lived, most our lives, on the American west coast. Born, both of us, within sight of the Pacific, the mythical West was always behind us, back there somewhere, the frontier just a feeling, and we could always see where the Japanese and Chinese jetliners left contrails in the sky, tracing ached lines East. So when we left we went that way. Out of the Olympic Mountains and into Seattle, we went through the city and out, through a tunnel, opening out into farmland. We went through the fields, past great, dinosaur-sized rolls of hay, and past Spokane, which seemed to be a series of brick buildings all about to crumble. We went up into Idaho, into the mountains, making for the Continental Divide.

Read the rest of the essay @ catapult magazine