Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Zen Driver

It’s a beautiful day for a drive
When you think about it.

Oh, big truck. Why do you go so slow?
Ten miles under the speed limit for the last twenty miles.
I guess I should pass you.
Well, maybe in a little while.
Okay. I'll give you ten more miles.
Twelve more miles. Maybe now?
There. I'm in the left lane. 
Oh dear—now you’re speeding up.
Now you’ve cut me off.
You must be having a bad day.

Another accident.
Slowing down again.
I hope no one’s hurt.

The Google Maps Lady
Can be so helpful.
But she always sounds a bit frantic.

So much traffic at rush hour.
I feel harried.
Oh, look! A Pileated Woodpecker flying by!
That makes me happy.

Six lanes!
I wonder which one I should be in.

"Bump ahead."
A good reminder
About life. 

Borden Milk Company truck
Elsie the Cow’s shining face, sticking out of a big daisy.
That’s something you don’t see every day
Any more.

So many people
In such a hurry.
They must be doing important things.

Truck ahead brakes hard.
Uh oh. Must be danger ahead.
Nope. He turns off at exit.
His signal must be broken.

More construction.
Even more construction.
The road will be perfect
Some day.

Seven hundred miles to go.
Will we make it today?
No big deal.

I wonder how many birds
We've passed so far.

So many drivers.
Some too fast.
Some too slow.
That Conway double-truck weaving wildly.
Pickup truck passing on the right shoulder.
Yelling won’t help
At all.

The roads through the mountains
Go every which way,
Like a plate of spaghetti.

Most people
Are good drivers.
That's why we're all still here.

When you think about
Building roads through mountains,
It's pretty cool. 

So many signs
In every direction.
Should I read them all?
“Don’t Drive Distracted."
“Be Safe."
“TOOT Cares.”
Oh, wait.
That’s TDOT.
Tennessee Department of Transportation,
Driving me to distraction.
I wonder if they appreciate
The irony.

1,056 miles so far.
598 to go.
We're making progress.

Mountains are prettier
When you're the passenger.

The steering wheel
Sticking out of the dashboard
Is attached to hidden stuff
Attached to other stuff
Attached to other stuff
That makes the wheels turn.
I like how complicated it is.
And all I have to do is drive.

We just went through
A teenie tiny piece of Georgia,
And we're back in Tennessee.
Are we still making progress?

Sometimes it feels frustrating
That we can't stop to bird.

So much traffic
Going through Chattanooga.
But no choo choo.

What a big, beautiful country.
It must have been thrilling
To explore it on foot.

Georgia is so beautiful.
I feel sad,
Thinking about Sherman.
Grant was a better human being.
But thinking about Grant
Makes me happy.
Until I think about his tragic death.

I wish the Google Maps Lady could speak Jane Austen.
If I miss an exit, she could say, "I am most seriously displeased."
If there is an accident and she needs to reroute me, she could say,
"I am all astonishment."
That would be fun.

 Black Vultures and Turkey Vultures
Hundreds circling over the highway.
I wonder if they know something.

I trust we'll be happy
To get where we're going.
But the getting there is fun, too.

Driver whizzing past
Pointing his middle finger at the sky.
Yes! That is a pretty cloud.
I give him a thumbs up.

It's a beautiful day for a drive
When you think about it.

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