I am headed south on an adventure. I am feeling relaxed, peaceful, and confident. I feel bits of the crusty residue of my painful past cracking and flaking away. The person I see in the mirror is an interesting man. Things are starting to taste better again. I am noticing moments of fleeting whimsy with a smile instead of a sardonic growl. I'm picking up background vibrations again: the layers of sound in color embedded in everything I see and hear. I can feel the last two weeks of someone's life when they sit near me - I can see a month if they hold my gaze for a few seconds. If they brush against my arm I'm flooded with a year's worth of their emotions - it's almost overwhelming.
The upside of reconnecting with my deeper nature - apart from how nice it is to peel back several year's worth of grey sludge from my soul - is that a five hour meandering car ride through the nearly abandoned Mill Towns of South Carolina becomes an adventure instead of a tedious exercise in simply "getting where I'm going."
I have stopped three times already and I'm not 75 miles out of town yet. But this is an adventure and I have no one to please but myself. There was Pat's Flea Market which had some really nice concrete statuary. There was Gordon's Machine Swap which had a Bobcat tractor for sale - I've always wanted one of my own since I rented one to create Kelly's Rock Garden a few years ago. I asked Gordon some basic info about the machine and he admitted he didn't know much about it. So I asked him to start it up and that lead to a 15 minute search for the keys in a garage that I'm pretty sure dates back to the 1950's.
Apart from seven different varieties of spiders, we found boxes and boxes of keys, but not a one for the Bobcat. I pulled a Coca Cola out of my cooler in my trunk and we shared one as we talked about the baseball season getting under way today, then I shook his hand and parted ways. I guess I'll have to find another tractor for sale.
I filled up with gas and bought a fifth of Stoli Orange so I'd have something to drink when I check into my hotel tonight and want to head immediately out to the beach to feel the sand in my toes and the wind in my face - the Atlantic Ocean spread out before me - and realized that there seems to be an ABC package store attached to every single filling station in South Carolina. As I pulled back onto the road I saw a pair of large brown and white goats chewing on a dogwood tree. The tree was right next to the highway and the small house was literally 30 feet off the road. A man sat on a white chair in the front yard.
I slowed and parked on the street, leaning out my window.
"Those are some nice looking goats you have there."
"Mmm-hmm." From his easy tone and the fact that he didn't bother to even look at me, I figured he heard this quite a bit.
I took a closer look at the goats. One stood on his hooves to reach some tender blossoms higher up in the gnarled tree. This goat had the largest balls I have ever seen. They would make an elephant proud. I don't really know why people notice such things, but man you have to give credit where credit is due.
As if sensing my admiration, the man added, "The goats are not for sale."
I nodded carefully - I felt it was the polite thing to do: show some regret at hearing this piece of sad information. "A pity," I said and smiled softly.
I eased my car back onto the highway and let my sunglasses slide back over my eyes as a cloud of pollen drifted past like a yellow swarm of tiny bees. It's going to be a really good day.