Another beginning had ended, which only meant there was a new beginning around the bend. Sitting in her car, she rested along the dusty highway, staring out the window into no man’s land. The morning was covered with a shallow haze of uncertainty, clouds hid any light of promise that might guide her toward where she needed to be. This was familiar territory for her, uncertainty. A motivating companion that kept her moving toward something more certain, which always seemed to resemble another distant horizon. The mountain range surrounded her, shadowing any glimpse of what might be ahead, but in some ways protecting her with a definitive embrace.
She was used to travelling alone, it was usually the occasional company of strangers that rose her heartbeat, inciting her to wonder whether they had good intentions or not. Traveling solo was her safe zone, a place where trusting herself and the powers that be to show her the way.
The thing she loved most about the desert landscape was being able to see what or who was coming from miles away. Whether there was a dark sky forming over the range, or the swirl of a dusty trail from an approaching traveler, the unhidden agenda of the land and open range gave her enough warning to ponder her next move.
And there it was, a trail of dust smoldering off to the right side of the blacktop highway, dust filled clouds levitating the earth toward the sky. She could barely make out the vehicle as it made its slow approach toward the main road. Covered in disguise as a lazy dust devil, it created even more intrigue for her to consider.
Her day had started with an eerie sense anyway, when a knock on her car window made her jump awake to witness a Highway Patrol officer standing beside her car. What the? She rolled down the window to see what he wanted. He warned her of the dangers of parking along the highway, and advised her to move on. Her sleepy eyes saw his name, Jack, a funny reminder that she had left Jack at the bar last night.
Telling the officer that she would move along seemed to be enough for him to move on too. Glancing at her rear-view mirror, she could see him get back into his car and radio something in, maybe checking her plates, or checking back in so he could hit the road again. And in a blink, he spun his cruiser onto the highway and sped off.
Waking up into the hazy day had left her with so many unanswered questions. What happened last night, why did she stop here, and where was she? Too tired to answer anything now, she turned over the ignition hoping some momentum might spur a clearer view.
The dusty veil was lifting off the highway where she could now see it was an old man driving an old pickup truck; windows down and one hand on the wheel, he was in no hurry to go anywhere, unlike her desire to get out of nowhere, and fast. The old man gazed onto the highway and waved as she passed by, this was no longer no man’s land.
She figured there had to be some sort of town up ahead, so she headed North on 80 for no other reason than to distance herself from where she’d been.
Another patrol car whizzed by her, this time heading South, toward the town she hardly knew. Maybe the old man was a wanted fugitive or perhaps something else had transpired, something she didn’t need to know. Now that the law was tending to other affairs, she accelerated into the mirage.
Watching the heat begin to rise from the road, she noticed the clouds clearing into a pass that would lead her through the mountain range. The only sign in sight read twenty miles to Sutton, so she kept her pace entering the green base of the mountains. This gave her some assurance she was on the right path, away from the relentless past of the desert, and into a yielding forest that might settle her mind. As she forged ahead toward Sutton, the mountains swallowed her dust, welcoming her into its womb.