Driving in the West
On the road, here in the west,
is much different than in the large
eastern side of the country.
Our freeways are not toll roads,
for one, and so there is no need
to stop at all unless one needs gas
or a convenience break.
And our towns don’t run together;
signs of cultivation and human
habitation running together like
a water-color painting, blending one
town into the next, into the next,
into the outskirts of the city.
In the west, the cities stand like
islands in the vast open land,
islands with millions of people,
perhaps, but islands nonetheless.
Driving so as to circumnavigate
the city center, we find our way to
the artery that leads to our destination
and once we leave the suburbs,
it is open country with little sign of
life other than the fence that lines the roads,
railroad tracks and the occasional hawks
or cattle or cotton or alfalfa.
And there are long stretches where only
desert surrounds the freeway, cacti and
drought-loving trees and dirt and rock
and mountains in the distance.
The sun is merciless and our AC
keeps us cool, music surrounding us with
a taste of our modern world.
I often wonder at the stubborn strength of
the sturdy souls who tamed this place
and made it their own.