by The Don
A quick reflection on youth in a flat,rural space where dreams of something bigger abound.
I always remember, though, that I wanted to get out of there. I longed for the road. I drove down deserted highways, Freebird blaring in the car speakers, dreaming that this time, this very time, I would be driving down this road for the last time, leaving the town in the middle of nowhere behind. Leaving. Never to return. If I leave here tomorrow, I'd think, I'd never come back to live, things just couldn't be the same. Curving through the broad ramps connecting the US highways, one leading to New York in the east, and California in the west, Minnesota to the north and Texas to the south, I could feel the distance, the breadth of the vast land under the starry sky, stretching down the asphalt ribbon, calling me, calling me to turn the wheel and point the car, north, south, east or west. The west and the South fascinated me . . . I'd wonder what the San Fernando valley looked like just then, or the Gulf of Mexico on the west coast of Florida. They called me, and I knew, in the very core of my being, that I'd answer, that the little cradle of central Iowa would someday give me up and allow me to live. Escape from the land of corn and beans, no longer to walk those rows, to feel the sun beat down in the middle of a field, to relegate this and a thousand other things to memory, things to be left behind, and a world to be discovered, somewhere, down the highway.