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In The Rearview. . .

It takes a drive sometimes, to really clear your head, to be able to think the thoughts you want which are hidden underneath the noise of those thrust upon you. Those thoughts repeat until you shut down your ears even to your own ideas despite your attempts to move beyond them.

I drove for work. No rain. No snow. Just easy road, mostly empty, until the city neared. I drove over an hour each way for work and despite the excitement of my upcoming trip, I thought. . . about my rearview mirror.

I considered what passing by does and what leaving something behind means. My eyes lingered in the split second in which you are still in a space and yet you already have so much of that moment in your rearview, an experience, a feeling, a job, a relationship.

I kept both hands on the wheel. I needed to be present, to be focused, for my own wellbeing and the safety of those sharing this road. A difficult ask. Hard not to think of the other roads I wasn’t on that day. Near impossible to hold myself accountable and name the feelings that illustrated some of this accountability was unfair or unfounded.

I was tempted by the comfort of a second cup of coffee in my travel mug, one with hearts that my niece gave me. I was distracted by a future rearview, the days of an upcoming vacation that would too quickly be in my rearview.

I could navigate the saved radio stations with split attention. Then, even they faded and crackled. I needed a new one. I found remembered favorites, an oldies station. I dipped down a hill and up around a steep curve. The station barely held. Be patient. I told myself, it’s just this topography. The past couldn’t help but get stronger as I neared its broadcast point.

I waited. The station strengthened and I marveled at something so dated being so present. Alone, I relived my childhood memory of singing in the car with my dad driving. Simultaneously, I was comforted by the future past, this station tuned in for the return trip. Even rearview wasn’t permanent.

I pictured the items laid across a spare bed waiting to settle in an open suitcase. The sky remained gray, but my unnamed sadness evaporated. My assigned seat on the airplane had no rearview. We could always carry something with us, not realizing its permanence. Other times, it was only a matter of time, until we passed its way again.


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