Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mile 1: In the Beginning

I was 17 when I got my first taste of the open road. I was the proud owner of a beat-up Pontiac Sunbird with no air conditioning. The driver's seat upholstery was shredded. I "fixed" it with a stolen carpet square that I sat on for the four years I owned the car until its last day when I drove it limping and surrounded by billows of smoke into the parking lot of a dealership in Abilene. I even think the trunk was smoking.

However, on that "first-taste-of-the-open-road" drive, I felt like I had the lead role in a road trip movie. I had been on long trips before; just never by myself. On that summer day in July in the late 1980s, I-35 belonged to me. Back then, the stretch from Dallas to San Marcos was not nearly as trafficked as it is today. Open road. One taste was all it took. Oh, the feeling. It has only grown stronger.

That original call of the open road (in many ways) is inspiring this little five-month writing project that begins today. I have been thinking about (and anticipating) this day for the past couple of weeks since my mysterious muse paid me a visit. What would I say? Where would I begin?

Then it occurred to me that to plan what I would say would go against the whole point of the project. Sure, I have plans for these five months. But don't overthink it. Just throw a leg over the saddle, fasten your helmet, hit the starter, and go. Just go.

And that's what I did this morning.

Nothing fancy. Certainly no "open roads" in urban Houston on the way to work. But the sun was shining, the air was cool, and my bike and I shared some time together. That's all.

I have places to go today, and people to see. The weather is perfect, and my journeys today and this weekend I hope will be smooth. But whatever comes, I am keeping my eyes peeled to make sure I don't miss what is right in front of me. Namely, today. This moment.

This is just the beginning.

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