Thirteen miles in three and a half hours. By some ancient standards that might be making good time.
This is what I think as I sit in traffic, inching along on a very small stretch of a 300 mile quest to Connecticut. These thirteen miles are neither here nor there. They are somewhere in between, but they are exactly where I am and I am simply there.
There is a lot to see that maybe I would have missed at 60 plus miles an hour. Even on the Delaware Turnpike…at night…in the dark of the new moon. There is a lot to see even though its not remarkably different. But it needs to be seen I suppose. We all need to be seen.
There is some reason I am here, I tell myself. And I mean it. And I feel not impatient, even as I am a little achey. Somehow knowing that I am exactly where I need to be makes it peaceful if not perfect.
So, I play my ipod, a silly Russian roulette, spin the wheel and let the Universe decide what songs we will hear. I discover that the Universe prefers Ry Cooter and the Reverend Gary Davis and Pavement which I think is kinda funny given that I am stuck on a long black stretch of Pavement and this is apparently what I am meant to see.
I giggle to myself when I see a sign warning us to slow down for the construction. I wonder if we really could go any slower, me and my fellow travelers. Then I learn we can, and we do. Thats when it occurs to me that once upon a time someone might have thought that having gone 13 miles in 3 and a half hours was making good time. Its all relative.
There is no exit. The metaphor is not lost on me. We are all of us trapped here–on this stretch of a journey that some might say is painfully slow but maybe is the right speed afterall.
I am thankful there is no Pollyana ending. I have not found any greater meaning in the traffic. I didn’t find a long lost friend in the car next to mine. There was no missed accident, at least I don’t think there is. I don’t have any aha moments that explain the traffic, the slow car, the endless stretch of wet dark pavement. Whatever I needed to learn is subtler, simpler and I am not sure I can even articulate it.
I am here. Nowhere else.
I am somewhere in the dark. Stuck like so many. Creeping along and moving but always exactly where I am. I am moving, always moving. I feel my chest rise with every breath. I feel my leg tap out the rythym of the song. I feel my arms stretch up as I try and relieve my tired back.
Thirteen miles in 3 and a half hours. By ancient standards I was making good time.