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Roads

Raw from the Road, January 24, 2018

Roads

The drive toward Life is protective, thoughtful, vulnerable, and invested in immaculate love.

It is this last that marks the difference between a wise heart muddy with real life experiences in the trenches

and a dry heart that functions on rote concepts alone.

-Clarissa Pinkola Estes

 

On the Road in the Eastern Sierra Mountains, CA 2018

 

From the time I got my driving license, I was infatuated with roads. Maybe it was the motion, maybe it was the freedom I felt as I drove past places, things and the vessel itself… an object that as I sat still, it moved through time and space.

When I first went to college in rural Georgia, (my second year when I had a car) whenever I wanted to clear my mind or have an adventure, I got in my car and drove.

On one occasion, a fellow schoolmate invited me to drive to Ft. Lauderdale… a lengthy drive, and to my dorm-mate’s disapproval I accepted and off we went. It was only a 9 hour drive, but I loved every minute of it.

Outside of driving from NY to GA with my dad, it was my first real road trip with a friend and it was fantastic.

Unfortunately, my friend was expelled from college for missing so many classes.  I was lucky enough to stay.

I had the taste of the thrill from the road – the adventure – the freedom and there was no turning back.

The car became my songwriting vessel and the road, became my muse.

With pen in hand and notebook perched in the middle of the seats, I wrote many words and lyrics to songs.

At one point, I was driving a little 2 seater, 5 speed sports car and that didn’t stop me from writing.

Judge if you will, but I knew I was protected as I drove through countrysides and on highways and I’m happy to relay that I never had an accident while driving and writing. Would I do that now? Probably not.

These days I stick to writing on planes and trains.

Speaking of writing…. I am in the midst of creating four photography books, a collection.

One of the books is called Las Cruces (the crosses) and combines photographs of roadside crosses and poems I wrote while on the road in Bryce Canyon and the surrounding areas in Utah.

On my way driving cross country from Santa Cruz, CA to Vermont for a writing fellowship, I was inspired by a cross I passed on the highway in Utah.

I wondered whose cross was that?  Who loved this person so much that they staked a beautiful commemorative white cross with a yellow ribbon and wreath to mark their death and life?

I turned around on the highway and went back to take the photograph of Saturday Warrior.

Saturday Warrior, HWY in Utah, 2001

From that time until I stopped hours later, somewhere in Colorado, I wrote 22 poems of fictionalized voices from the dead.

Later that year when I returned to Santa Cruz, I continued taking photographs of crosses I found locally and since that time, 17 years ago,  I have continued to make photographs of these shrines ever since.

Photo: Dave Salter

I’m excited to share this work in book form (and hopefully a gallery or museum at some point!)  and will keep you posted on when it will be published. In the interim, here is a photograph and poem from this series:

Pink Cross, Old River Road, Bakersfield, CA 2018

The Grateful Dead?

Look at the tribute to my life
You can see
Many people loved me then
And now, they shower me with flowers
Stuffed animals
Pictures
You stand over me
First, sad with grief
Then smiling, you are glad that I am surrounded by such love
Such adoration
Do you want to trade places?

What do you think when you pass these crosses on the road? As always, I appreciate your feedback and thank you for sharing this road with me!

EnJOY the ride!

Love and Light,
Robbie