Solo Adventure

I was looking forward to seeing my good friend, whose husband was in a wedding in Palm Springs.  They brought their second son, now 3 months old.  I was really excited they would be so close; yet I was surprised how hard it was for me to decide not to take the girls with me, even though I knew it was the best thing ... for the baby, and for getting good quality time with my friend.  What I had underestimated in thinking about everyone else, was that it was going to be good time for me. 

The girls were eager to spend time with their Aunty, Uncle and Cousin, and so after I dropped them off, the big question was whether or not I head toward Palm Springs on the freeway, or go the back-roads.  

I had my camera.  

I had my large Coffee Bean Coffee.

I had no back seat drivers.  

So, I took the back roads.   

I drove through Vail Lake, and headed up into the hills.  It was a bit of a strange sensation, to notice so many details of my surroundings.  To BE ABLE to notice them, senses undistracted other than with driving.  The green hills.  The fences.  The purplish wild brush.  The large tan and grey rocks.  The snow on the mountains in the background. The snow on the mountains in the background. 

And then, a little further east, the fog settled in over the green spikey plants and the wild cacti.  I found myself fighting the urge, but I finally took the opportunity to pull over and soak it up.  I took my camera out and I took some pictures.  It was so quiet.  Unfamiliar.  The cool foggy air on my skin.  I became aware that it felt erie.  

Why?  Why is this erie?  

There is not a single person in sight, no scary animals showing teeth at me.  

Not a single car on the road.  

Oil was changed yesterday.  

No snakes at my feet.

And I sat with that erie feeling for a minute.  I realized I wasn't scared.  I was simply alone.  Alone and awakened to my surroundings.  It wasn't a sad sensation; it was a calm sensation.  In that moment, I didn't have to think about anyone else but me. What MY eyes were seeing; what MY nose was smelling; what MY skin was feeling.  It's hard to describe in words, my thoughts, because my thoughts were busy just taking things in.  It's almost as if I didn't need thoughts to describe the moment.  So I'll quit trying to force words on it.

So every so often on that drive, I got out of my car and took some pictures.  I felt the silence, took in the amazing surroundings that I hadn't seen before.  Or if I had, I hadn't appreciated like this.

Then the snow plow came down the hill. 

Then the snow.

Then the family in the suburban who had pulled off into a snow field and were throwing snow balls at each other.  

Then the sign that said "Chains Required Beyond This Point".


I was half way there, and an hour into my drive.  To go the other way would take me 3 hours rather than one.  I paniced.  I'm a law abiding citizen.  Will I get pulled over?  Will it really snow more than this?  I'm my children's mother; I don't need her to be off in a snowy ditch somewhere. 

Logic speaking: There was no snow on the road.  There were plenty of other cars on the roads, none with chains on.

I made the decision to follow the other cars on the road, and take in the snow. But I was no longer able to appreciate the suroundings other than the road in front of me.  

It was a little nerve-wracking.  And beautiful.  And strangely exhillerating.  I'm pretty sure if you had driven past me I would have been smiling.  Cheesily.

Soon enough the snow subsided, and I came into and the rocky hills came into sight.  The sun was out. I was on the home stretch for Palm Springs.  I made it through without getting pulled over.  Though I did pull myself over another several times to take in the rocky terrain, the steep hills that only tarantulas, snakes and goats would find cozy.  

All of this before 10AM on a Saturday

And getting to spend the next 4 hours with a good friend and her young family was icing on the cake.

So as not to push my luck with the adventure I had on my way to Palm Springs, I elected to take the freeway home to my family.  It was a boring drive home, but thoughts of my girls and the full day with them I'd have on Sunday, thoughts of good and real conversation with my good and real friend, and the images and pictures to remember my Solo Adventure by helped me distract myself a bit from wanting to get home quickly to, and missing, my girls.  

 © Houseman 2013