How can I feel perfectly content in our average (read small) 73" sleeper "big truck", yet feel claustrophobic traveling up and down the highways here on the East coast of the US? Logic dictates that there is more room outside the truck than there is inside, right? But as I stare out the windows each day at the trees and the green I can't help but feel a sense of being closed in, trapped. All I want to do is retreat to the comfort of the sleeper of the truck to write or draw. Where its small, where it's safe. How does that make sense?
I remember the first Twilight book, don't judge me, the books were good, the movies awful. After Bella left Phoenix and arrived in Forks, Washington everything was green and wet. The huge trees crowded her view. She missed the brown of the desert, the view you could see for miles. The first time I read the books I didn't quite understand that. You see, growing up in Florida, yes the beaches and ocean, but also trees, trees, nothing but trees. Trees, and grass, and swamp, and green. Green everywhere. Pine trees and great big beautiful Spanish Moss Oaks hundreds of years old crowd the roads, arching over them, canopies protecting all below from the sun and rain.
But you know what else comes with the South and its oceans, and green, and trees, and rains? Humidity. The air itself literally weighs on you like one of grandma's heavy quilts. Except this quilt has been soaked in hot water and its steaming you while you bake underneath in the sun, roasting, suffocating. It's heavy. It's like trying to walk through hot, sticky, melted butter every day. But when you live in it your whole life, you don't know any different. That's life. You grab an ice cold glass of sweet tea, pull your hair up into a ponytail, and go on. Open-toe shoes are your best friend. Cotton breathable clothes are a must for survival in the saturated heat. Panythose? Forget about those! Except for hanging your onions and apples. AC, big paddle fans, trips to the beach, river, springs, or any other cool watering hole are the elements of survival for summers in the South. And everywhere you look is green. Even the beaches. I didn't know any different, and I couldn't imagine a place where brown and dry would ever be considered beautiful or comforting.
Then I climbed into a big truck.
My whole world changed.
Our first trip out he took me to Seattle by way of Salt Lake City. After, we went down through Utah. I was literally rendered speechless and into tears at the beauty of the barren red rock. For the next 7 months we traveled back and forth across the US. Up to Seattle and back to Nashville. Across Utah, Arizona, Colorado, out to California and back. I saw New Mexico, all over Texas, even up to South Dakota and the Black Hills, Kansas and the great plains. But everywhere we went, I was always happy to go back west, to Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico. Especially Utah, Montana, and Wyoming for some reason. Each for similar and different reason. Utah for its breath-taking barren beauty. But all of them for the wide open spaces. (queue Dixie Chicks) I felt free and alive out there. I could look and never get tired of what I saw. My mind would wander with ideas. I realized for the first time I didn't feel crowded.
And then we'd head back East. About the time we would cross the Mississippi River I could feel my mood change. The roads felt darker. The trees were taunting me, teasing me. They hovered, their branches reaching out to snare me. It felt like a trap. They were going to hold me back East forever and never let me see the beauty of the West again. I could feel my anxiety start to rise and my depression start to sink into my chest. And suddenly I understood what Bella felt. I longed for the brown. For the dry, or dryer. I longed for the wide open spaces.
Everyday we run, well he does. He drives. Expedite keeps us moving and busier. It was a smart move. But as a solo expedite driver freight lanes are limited. Meaning, we are limited to the Eastern part of the country. Don't get me wrong, I've seen some beautiful things I never would have seen. Expedite gives us lighter loads, we can take some different routes, off the beaten path. I count myself lucky to see the things I have. Yet, every day I feel those trees closing in on me, mocking me. I try to look beyond them in vain.
The outside makes me feel claustrophobic. It's too small. Yet the 73" of our sleeper is my safety. For now atleast. Until we can figure out a way to get to those wide open spaces once again.