On The Road: Barstow, 9-11-09
Open the truck door and it’s like being paddled into a pizza oven – with outlet stores. Why would anyone stop in Barstow? Vegas crossroads – a maze of eighteen wheelers refueling – cell phone talking/texting Starbucks clutching LA exiters – God, it’s 11pm and everyone’s wired – I’ve dropped into an over-heated circuit board – one night – just one night.
Sunrise – bring my duffel to the truck and bam! it’s twenty degrees cooler just high 80’s – gotta leave – Kingman never looked so good – Yes! I see clouds, monsoon miracle up ahead! – the road bends, the clouds go off to the right – please, please let me drive into the heart of that storm – any storm – I can hear the truck sigh, cool down – turn right – there they are – the arrow of my truck strikes – No! – the storm strikes – Flash! – torrential white knuckle windshield hyper wiper – can’t see for shit – slow it down – doesn’t help but I asked for it yes I did – where’s the camera? – this is good – there’s lightning – how far apart? – crank down the aperture and pray – not that way, but it’s still praying – Now! – damn, it’s processing the file and flash! – missed it – try again – and again – for miles – a semi plows past sending an ocean splash all over the windshield – where’s the road? – I’m feeling it like you feel a forest path with your feet in the dark – feeling it and doing the real praying – stay alive – think that way – but it’s time for a strike of lightning – press the shutter – hold the ship on course with my left hand – lightning Yes! hits and the semi plows through the exposure – how wild! – it’s there – I know it is – somewhere.
It’s alive time – I’m fearless – knowing about instant death out here – so strange how it relates and completely doesn’t to scrambling over, leaping over, balancing on rocks in the wilds of Maine, Iceland, anywhere – it’s the same right now – totally alert and alive and thinking about staying in my lane – shit – on the road – and getting ready for the next semi to shake my Etcha-Sketch reality away – yet! – thinking about the image – always – and the timing of the lightning – and damn that truck was a bit too close.