There's this stretch of I-80 somewhere in Ohio that's really magic. It's after Toledo, where you think Ohio should have ended by now but it seems to keep going on forever. Flat, farmland, with just the occasional house or barn.
If you turn the radio on, it's like the road, the landscape and the airwaves know you're there and they conspire to give you something, some kind of affirming message, at very least an acknowledgement.
When I was driving Hazel to Chicago, to college for the first time, we were cruising along, nobody saying anything. I know it was no coincidence that we heard "Wild World" by Cat Stevens.
Oh, baby, baby, it's a wild world
and I'll always remember you like a child
(The effect was spoiled a little while later when they played "The Night Chicago Died" by Paper Lace, but we were in Indiana by then.)
Sunday, high on sinus medicine. I've just seen my family in Pittsburgh, visited my storage space in Cleveland. Floating in America. The main thing tethering me to the place, my daughter, is sleeping in the passenger seat (she took the drowsy formula).
And then I hear it.
I can see why you think you belong to me
I never tried to make you think, or let you see one thing for yourself
But now you're off with someone else and I'm alone
You see, I thought that I might keep you for my own
Amie, what you wanna do?
I think I could stay with you
For a while maybe longer if I do
In the right moment, the slightest banal pap can contain all the wisdom of the universe.
Maybe you can't really know how you feel about a place until you step outside it for a while? It's good to get the nod, that somebody knows I'm back for a little while.