Ah summer! The sun is high in the sky and the air is thick with trapped moisture. The hippie trains are loaded up and chugging full steam throughout the summer festival season. Just last weekend, Widespread Panic just blasted through town for their annual Red Rocks retreat. For many who were here last weekend, “…the lights from the town are fading with radio. There’s another song playing, and we can hear it in the wind outside”[i]. For others, this could be the end of a six-week slog, and the comforts of home are welcome departures from the bumps and turns of the open road.
This part of the world is all about the road. The stewards of this great land chased the herds across the vast stretches of the grassland prairies. People from the East pushed west in search of promises like gold and fertile farmland. People from the West sailed across the Pacific and drove in the last stakes that finally concluded the route that connected the East to the West.
The minutes tick away. But does it really matter how time is measured? On the road, time takes many forms. It is counting the miles before the next rest stop because Timmy is getting restless or counting the days until you are back on your Beautyrest. It is looking for the next campground exit, where the crew will link up again and drum until the woodpile burned its last log. It is one more encore before exiting the door.
The days never seem to end; yet they are gone too fast. Summer is a block party with a constant shower of balloons, music, food, and organized chaos that embraces the celebration that the community shares. But then the magic hour hits, and it is gone in an instant. The streets are left empty and hollow; yet the buildings and trees still resonate with the energy of the event like ears ringing after a really loud fireworks celebration.
This is just my take on summer, however. Many other versions exist out there that may not be so musical. Music is the tapestry of my memories. Songs remind me of people and points in time that are usually good. Even when I don’t have music in my ears, I hear the drone of the nearby cars or the wail of a foghorn or the symphony of cicadas.
I hope the roads you take this summer are filled with sounds. Here’s to all you Pilgrims of Turtle Island! I hope the world will show you something that makes you stop for a second and take it all in! Will it be first time eating fry bread, or experiencing the crazy winds blow in Death Valley? The road takes many angles and turns, and every one you take is for the right reason, even if you end up in a ditch in South Dakota in the middle of the night.