I left Georgia behind with a sense of yearning and relief. As I passed Atlanta, I tuned into a country music station on the radio and my tears flowed freely on that sunny day. I was leaving behind a home that was not my own. I kept thinking of Susan and the prayer that rose to my lips.
With the taste of my tears
I leave your body behind
But somehow in the sunshine
I know I am taking you with me.
It was all that I could do. Take this road home and take her with me. I passed through Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, the birthplace of American music. There was something strange and sweet to see that phrase written on the sign at the rest area in Mississippi. I couldn’t help but think to myself that music isn’t made or born; it’s already there. I felt like as a musician it was my job to coax it out until it began to respond.
I drove my way through grief that day as I worked my way through the different states. I passed through most of Tennessee with little notice and didn’t even stop in Memphis. With my little dogs in the car, and driving by myself I had very few options left to me to do sight-seeing. It was nearly sundown when I made it to the “Memphis” KOA on the east side of Arkansas a few miles from the Tennessee border.
I checked in at the office and the woman warned me that the area was ripe with mosquitoes and was a hot spot for heart worms. My own heart froze in my chest as I thought about my poor, sweet, four-legged, fur-babies in the car. I hadn’t put them on any heart worm medication to come out to the east coast. I started to beat myself up for being so stupid. There was nothing that could be done about it now, except my dogs were extremely put out by the amount of bug spray I started distributing over their little black and tan coats.
I pulled up to the camp site and right next to it was a cloud of blue dragon flies. There were at least two dozen dragon flies hovering next to the field in the sunset. I watched the strange, dance-like quality of their flight and the glints and flashes of the sun sparkling off of their exoskeletons. I thought to myself that if fairies ever did exist, they would fly and spark like dragon flies. Maybe the fairies rode the insects like steeds and would use the movements to tumble, fall, and fly. The dance, chaotic at first glance, had a pattern that wove a tapestry into the air.
The dogs and I spent most of the evening holed up in the tent. I tried to relax, read, and let the anxiety of the last several weeks fall off of me. Something about this space in time still held me in a protective bubble. I knew that soon it would burst, but I accepted it for what it was.
I drifted in and out of sleep that night. I woke in the dark thinking of dragon flies and taking to my own flight, but I didn’t like the idea of packing up the tent without the sun. I listened to the cicadas, blending in with the highway sounds and the distant train horns. The white noise accompanying me as I came in and out of dreaming.
Sleeping so close to the earth, I knew when it was time for me to move. I made my way to the shower and found myself drying off as a gaggle of young women found their way into the bathroom to start their day. It seems I had just beaten the rush and that was just fine with me.
I packed up the tent with the dogs in the car. To my horror, in just the short time of having the tent flap open I saw four mosquitoes hovering on the inside of the tent. I rolled up the tent with them in it, asking forgiveness for the inequitable squashing that came with it. Those little bugs weren’t going to get a chance to infect my little ones.
I left the Memphis KOA with the sense of fleeing disaster. It was still early though and I had 450 miles to go before I got to Oklahoma City. So I drove on down the asphalt river, flying like a dragonfly and leaving the parasites behind me.