loneliness as vast – Travel haiku and reflection – Western Michigan

loneliness as vast
as the sky above the lake;
michigan road trip

I love road trips–with a group of friends, with just one friend, alone. I confess it might be the last two which I love the best. When on my own, I have developed the routine of visiting the library before heading out to select some audio books, with almost always one selection being Seamus Heaney reading his beautiful translation of the elegiac epic Beowulf. I guess I keep hoping it will make me more self-sacrificial and heroic 🙂 Recently, James Herriot’s veterinary tales (which are truly tales about people) have also been a bit of a staple. These are comfort food. And then occasionally I may even submit to an “improving” book about diet or history. And then I select some music CDs from my collection, which have the virtue over a complete iPhone’s worth of music of limiting one’s selection, of making one imagine while selecting what sort of mood each CD might evoke.

The most illuminating part of road trips, though, are those parts where I push the button on the stereo to turn it off and just let the rhythm of the road and vagaries of the scenery wash over me, when so often the inward eye turns to a mulling of the past or hopes of the future. Sometimes the road and its landmarks are the very substrate for these ruminations, especially if I have been down that road before. This weekend, driving through a section of Michigan that we traveled through many times as college students to get to a camp in the Upper Peninsula and which some friends and I visited just last summer made for some reflective, too too lonesome traveling. I confess it was all a bit too much.