We came to yet another crossroads. Take 6s or 17w. Those numbers meant nothing to us. All we could see in front, behind and on either side were fields and fields of green. To the east were some of the darkest rain clouds I’d ever seen. My best friend was in the driver’s seat and I was in the back with the baby. Desperately pulling out my funniest faces and popping num nums in his mouth to appease the emerging beast.
We had google maps of course, but driving though the back country of Nebraska was like navigating the seams of a quilt, no straight line to anywhere. We had plenty of gas and num nums but the baby was on the edge, and so were we. The tires on the tin can rental would not hold up to these dirt roads should those dark clouds float our way and muddy them.
We’d just visited the highest peak in Nebraska, near the Colorado border. My friend is on a quest, a pilgrimage of her own, to touch the sky across America, in all 50 states to be exact.
At last, we made it to a paved road and a highway on-ramp. Stopping first to release the baby from his carseat trap and to refuel ourselves at the local diner. Greasy food aside, the best part was watching people stare at us from across the restaurant, surely wondering what two women and a baby were doing way out here in nowhere land Nebraska.
The next day we set out for the highest peak in Kansas, Mt. Sunflower. I was less than enthused after the Nebraska vortex experience. Set in the middle of a private ranch is a little shrine celebrating the peak, a metal sculpture and a stone monument surrounded by a protective fence. We sat at a picnic table and admired the wild flowers, purple, yellow, and orange. The baby laughed and played and no one was around to see the sun shine on our faces. We shared a little lunch and marveled at the plains that look almost like the ocean. Scrunchy clouds piled up on the horizon and we passed adorable, abandoned train-stop towns on the way back to Denver.
Some days you drive around and around in a maze. Somedays you’re blessed with unexpected beauty. Somedays you get to hold your best friend’s hand and see the human being she is molding. Somedays you say goodbye and cry your eyes out all the way home.
But most days I have you and you have me. Most days we can count on a can of beans in the cupboard. Most days our beloveds are only a phone call away. Most days we can be thankful for something or someone or even just num nums.