Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sweet Solitude

There were a few years of my life where I got to live sort of "in the country." It was in a subdivision too far out of town to be a suburb, and with plenty of little farms around. It was about as far as you could go away from the city without being in "nowhere." But I found "nowhere" a few times.

If you passed our exit on the highway, you would have to go six more miles down the road to turn around. One time I did that by accident (traffic was backed up at the exit so I'd see where I'd end up going the other way... long drive.) After getting off the highway, I thought I'd drive around a bit. After finding a nuclear power plant, a lake, a bunch of farms, and intermittent gravel roads I found myself winding up not 5 minutes away from my house. I took that road a few times when I felt like "driving."

For a month or maybe a few months, I would work at a little restaurant out in "nowhere." It was actually "Clayton" not "nowhere" but might as well be. It took about 30-45 minutes (yes that's a big difference) to get there from my house, depending on what time it was, and traffic etc. Not that traffic backed up on the piddly little two-lane road called NC-42 that you had to take, but if nobody was in front of you most of the way, you could go 50,55,60,65+ because the road is pretty much straight and there's no point in setting a speed trap on it really. Anyway, that was a nice little trip through farmland and podunk... two years ago.

Tonight I went out kind of late, since I was being late all day really (alhamdulillah, though, I have finally made up my Ramadan fasting... embarrassed as I am that it took me this long for one last day.) I was finished doing what I was doing around midnight-ish, but... didn't feel like going home.

I felt like listening to something loud and beautiful and going very fast.

Tonight I returned a microphone I had bought, since I was having trouble with my own built-in and even external mics, a problem I was alhamdulillah able to rectify. When a mic is required to talk to someone thousands of miles away... it's pretty important that it works!! So I was able to return the USB mic as I didn't need, mine working perfectly well as it ought to be. Ages ago when I bought my wireless router, a bonus special on that model was a free $10 gift card. So I had this gift card that I never used, and $10 isn't enough to make much difference in most things, and I used it in the purchase of the microphone, so when I returned it... $10 gift card back. But in order to get rid of the gift card, I made a purchase of something quite rare for me, a CD of music. I don't do that often--why, I mean, if you can listen to all the songs you want on the internet for free? But this singer I really enjoy, and just days ago realized that last year he released another album. I liked a few of the songs already (the ones I'd listened to) so I bought it. And had it playing when I made my decision to go for a ride...

So instead of turning home, I turned the other way, and drove out into the country, with the windows all open and the music blaring... mostly one song, but I did listen to a few of the others. I spent about two hours just driving, with my arms outstretched for a lot of the time. Oh, I'd love to have a motorcycle and really feel the wind all over... do you remember riding a bicycle and then flying down a hill and letting loose of the handlebars? I did that a lot, I just love the feeling. When I went on a cruise even, I enjoyed standing at the fore/front (or as near as we could get to the front which isn't the real nose of the boat) and standing that way, with my arms out. Of course it's not the same in the car really, with one arm blowing, the other against a seat. Maybe in a convertible... hm, should I get a convertible? But I enjoyed it, it was enough.

Anyway, I opted to take the twisty-turny Holly Springs Rd. into Holly Springs when it becomes New Hill Rd., then take the NC-55 Bypass into Fuquay-Varina. From Fuquay, took NC-42 past Clayton. I had intended to take I-40 back into Raleigh but changed my mind, just turned around and took NC-42 back to NC-55, then US-1 up to town.

There were a lot more subdivisions than I remember... though I recall it's been two years since I frequented that route. Nonetheless, it was dark, save the full moon in a barely cloudy sky, and quiet, except for me and my music drowning out the engine and the wind for me... it was happiness.

I thought about so many things, especially listening to that particular song (which I may post later inshaaAllah) but it was so nice to be alone, and to think, and to see the world through a different lens. To feel cold on the first of July (because wind rushing over your sleeves fast enough will give that sensation) and to look at the sky in its vastness, the earth in its blackness, to look over a field and see only the shadows of cows grazing. It's something beautiful. To feel the wind on my hand, on my skin... it was beautiful.

I'm not quite sure why it was so amazing. But I can tell you this much. I could enjoy the entire scene, the entire world around me, by myself. Me and my car and my music and miles around of scenery barely illuminated by the cloudy moon. And the world asleep, it was a sight, an experience only for me. And that is really precious.

One of my college professors used to tell us to never take the advice of anyone over 30. At that point, he said, people tend to disbelieve in their own capabilities and therefore, in our own, and would only discourage us from our real potential. Like listening to my dad who would say, "You can't be an engineer, it's too hard for girls." Adults, you see, sometimes have a knack for shooting down your dreams. They mean well, I'm sure, but for one reason or another have less imagination and less hope, even for the achievements and aspirations and ambitious of the youth. If I had told anyone where I was going at midnight tonight, or where I was sometime before 3am when I got home, they would probably frown, tell me it wasn't safe, or provide some other reason that I shouldn't be there.

But it's the sweet simplicity of it that I think I will treasure for quite some time. While I was out there, I was happy just to be myself. I felt intimidated by no one, afraid of no one. (Save Allah, and I did stop to pray on account of that fact!) The world was mine for a few hours, and I'm going to remember that. So simple, but so sweet.


Leena said...

Lovely! :-)

Aviator said...

wanna try hang gliding at Kitty Hawk ... :-)

Aviator said...

wanna try hang gliding at Kitty Hawk ... :-)

Aviator said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy said...

Only since I was 5!

My parents never let me! :-(

I'm going to Shallotte for the 4th but there's no hang gliding or big dunes there, even on Ocean Isle or Holden Beach, not that I can remember. Jockey's Ridge though is something special. I can still remember it...

It was hot, the sand was hot on your feet to burn them, and there was always wind in your face (and sometimes sand too). The sand was a pale yellow orange in my memory, very pale. And hot. Just hot sun and sand on your face, and kites all over the place, people rolling down hills (my bro and I used to do that, the rolling.) We flew kites a few times, but it's cool to see the hang gliders.

I mean to go hang gliding one day. But not this summer, nope. One day, inshaaAllah.