What’s your road, man? — holyboy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, any road. It’s an anywhere road for anybody anyhow.
Jack Kerouac, On the Road, chapter 1.
I love nature and I love walking in nature but I have also spent a lot of time in my life driving a car. I have driven the 401 highway from Toronto to Quebec hundreds of times. I have driven the 20, the 10, the 55 in Quebec, and Interstate 91 from Quebec to Connecticut over and over. I love to drive and while I understand this is a huge luxury and not necessarily an environmentally friendly one, I have owned or had use of a car for almost 40 years. I have loved all of them. I have loved waking up before the sun and heading off onto the road; each time rejoicing as the trees and sky brighten as the morning dawns. It is magic every time.
As I continue with Soul of a Pilgrim, I realize that driving is a pilgrimage for me. I relish getting lost on unfamiliar roads, patiently awaiting a familiar signpost. I practice trusting my instincts, my heart and accepting the kindness of strangers. The views through my car windows of mountains and valleys, along rivers and lakes, and city street scenes, small towns are always inspiring and sacred.
A few years back, I did a photography project, driving and walking through Toronto streets taking pictures of objects and signs that corresponded to the chakra colours. Common fence posts, signs, storefronts, fire hydrants each held an energy source I could draw from. The last few years I have taken pictures from inside my car while driving – sometimes I’m in the passenger seat (which is handy) but sometimes not. If I’m driving, I don’t focus or even look that closely; I just aim and shoot and see what emerges when I get home. Some shots, of course are blurred beyond recognition – but the light and the texture in those photos often resonate louder than the crystal clear shots. I wear glasses, without them the world looks blurry to me. I understand that view.
As the sun rises, I love the way trees and buildings are silhouetted in stark black contrast against the glowing sky. A trip to Saskatchewan yielded some magnificent prairie shots, miles and miles of yellow, the sky and the earth touching with nothing between. Colours, textures, smells, shapes, symmetry, abstraction, tragedy, comedy, romance… it’s all there on the road; each moment can add to our experience.
There is Zen on the road.
There is God on the road.
There is Hope on the road.
There is Life on the road.
Whether you take to the road on foot or wheels, close to home or in a foreign land, it doesn’t much matter. Each experience can manifest treasure. What does your road look like? What do you see there? Where will it take you?