Montreal to Maine
Maine! The woods are gorgeous and buildings wear silver scales of fish and trees walk out to the road and greet me like old friends. I’m here. I’m here. I’m here.
Weather vanes atop church steeples point the way—church steeples rusted green—the way is East—the streetlamps flicker on and off for me like at home.
Driving across Maine, I became intoxicated listening to a Sherman Alexie story read on public radio from New York. The story was about Spokane Indians in Seattle, and a man searching for the money to buy back his grandmother’s stolen dancing regalia from a pawnshop. The man keeps spending what little he earns in Indian bars. On his search, he tries to regain the wisdom of elders, and asks people what Indian music they listen to. The old people say, “Hank Williams,” and he protests, “No, real Indian music,” and the old people respond, “Hank Williams is real Indian music.” The story ends with the man dancing in his grandmother’s regalia. It made me think of my grandmother’s afghan that so often warmed and comforted me as I fell asleep on my couch each night—my grandmother’s afghan that held me while I lay sick a month before leaving, that turned into my grandmother’s soft body when my head collapsed in tears—my grandmother’s blanket left with baby Max, I will go back for.
Next a Raymond Carver story was read by a crackling shotgun voice, about a man who is haunted by the death of his young son. It made me think of my parents, and their love for me, and how worried they must have been over the past week of me traveling alone.
And being in Maine for the first time, with stories from the Northwest filling my car, I became intoxicated with the thought that: I’m taking all of my life, my past here with me. I’m taking Washington and Idaho and Oregon and California. I’m doing this for the ones I love and the place I’m from, as well as for myself. My heart must be open and pure and kind and abundant with generosity. I must represent the goodness of where I’m from. I must make my friends and family proud and not give them cause to worry. I must treat people here with the love and compassion I have received back home.