Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Driving to Salt Lake City from Colorado last week did something to me that I didn't realize was happening at the time. Like how my first visit to the Spiral Jetty did something to me. Twisted up inside me, then let go, like a spring, propelling so much weight out of me that I came back lighter and ready to accept things I'd been pretending didn't exist. This drive was that. A reverse drive from my drive out of here last May. Last time, the desert leg of the trip was sunny and dry and hot, and the mountains of Colorado were rainy and cold, and I pulled up to my parents' house in a storm. This time, I left my parents' house in sunlight, drove through lush hillsides into green mountain ranges, into a rainy desert and eventually into a stormy Salt Lake City.

You could see a rain cloud hanging over Moab, just south of I-70. The tips of the cloud were red. Either the dust from Moab swirling up into the air, or that same dust reflected in the cloud from down below. Moab is this kind of secret when you're driving through Utah on 70. You wouldn't know it were there if there weren't signs. Nothing suggests the martian landscape that lies only about an hour south of one of Utah's main interstates. But the clouds gave it away this time. The red you see on the horizon in the photos isn't sunset, it's Moab waving hello, beckoning, reminding me it's still there.

I saw a desert rainbow small enough to fit perfectly in view in my passenger side window. I filmed the moment you turn that corner out of the mountains on highway 6, when a dozen or so giant wind turbines appear out of nowhere. The first time I did this drive with R back in 2010, the turbines were threatening, an unsettling surprise at the bottom of the series of giant valleys that eventually lead north to Salt Lake. This time, I knew they were coming, I expected them, wanted them. Giant metal people waving at me, welcoming me home.

This is going to sound weird, but I almost feel reborn in a way after that drive. Like those cleanses that rinse toxins from your body. I feel like I did one of those by driving this route again, from Littleton to Salt Lake City. Like the low flying clouds and the rain pulled everything negative and bad from my body, absorbed those things, and I arrived here new. The perspective shift I hadn't been able to force on myself in the past few months shifted neatly, all on its own, and I suddenly feel like I did when I lived here before. Like this is my life. Like my choices are mine. Like I have control over my perspective. Like things are wonderful and I am safe. I've been so excited to arrive at each place I've gone so far this summer, and I've been sad to leave. I couldn't wait to get back home to Colorado after three and a half months away, and I cried when I had to leave, but I was also looking forward to Salt Lake with such intensity that my departure from Colorado was only half painful. It's going to be the same when I leave here on Friday morning. I am dreading leaving. I have finally found the stability and strength and clarity I need, and I've found it here, for a second time, and I'm worried about leaving this place again. But I cannot wait to get back to Los Angeles, to spend my evenings on rooftops, to spend my afternoons at the beach, to have west side sleep overs, and to be around people who don't make fun of my vegan food eating, yoga doing, spirituality embracing ways. I know I won't want to leave that, either. But I also know I'll be bursting with joy when my plane lands in New York City, the one home I truly let go of, a place I haven't been in over two and a half years.

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