I collect leaves, walking alone at dusk in Kentucky autumn, for you, 3000 miles away in Northern California where climate and the wheel of the earth do not afford this turning blaze. Colors like pumpkin, like russet and corn yellow.…
I miss the open road. I miss the feel of the sky in different landscapes. I miss the sound of voices speaking different languages, sounding different accents and turns of phrases.
I miss the faces of people entirely new to me, on crowded, noisy city streets and hushed, ambling country lanes. I miss the smell of food I’ve never tasted before and foods that are my favorites in different cities I seek out on each visit. I miss strong hotel coffee delivered to my room in heavy silver urns or sleek modern carafes after sleeping on fresh, high-thread count linens in a bed fit for a queen or road coffee from a rest stop full of truckers and drivers and stories people live that I try to imagine when I look into their faces after waking in a chain hotel for a cowboy shower with threaded towels and my hair in a high-top pony tail.
I miss the yellow ribbon of the highway and of the runway and the smell of leather in the posh cars that sometimes come to collect me and the drivers who usually tell me stories about their families in countries far from this one. I miss feeling part of the larger world, the connection to people as different as they are the same as me, the open smiles that hint at the possibility of belonging. I miss the tea selection in the lobbies and the welcome centers, the feel of a real paper map expanding its accordion folds to reveal a new world before me, how alive I feel in the full presence of newness, and the adventure of exploring it, the world itself opening like a kingdom of welcome before me, and your hand, so gently at the small of my back, as you say, “After you, my love.”
©2020 Dora E. McQuaid
The video above is the 2017 This Is Ireland Campaign launched for St. Patrick’s Day with Ireland.ie developed to showcase Irish creativity. Another version of this campaign is available in this Irish Times article.
All peace to each one of you. Dora