How is it that last night Jon and I were just less than a half hour from home, yet it felt like we were far, far away.
Virginia, I though as we left the motel room this morning. We could easily have been in Virginia.
And last night, as we drove through the sleeting, windy, dark, for no more than ten minutes, we came to a restaurant that made us feel like we were in Colorado. Deer, antelope and buffalo heads hung on the wood-paneled walls. We were the only ones in the small room, cozy in the corner. The muffled noise from the bar, two doors away, kept the restaurant from feeling desolate.
And the motel room was just what I expected.
I put the lily Jon bought me on an unusually elegant table near the door. Turned the heat up. Then pulled a chair over to the valance which was drooping over the window and hooked it back onto the curtain rod.
I’ve always been drawn to the American idea of the road trip. I love trips where I drive all day, stop where and when I want and don’t know where I’m going to sleep or eat until I get there.
That’s not exactly what Jon and I did last night. We knew where we were going to stay and where we would eat. We had passed both the old motel and restaurant many times on our way to Manchester Vermont.
But as we pulled into the motel, I pretended we had been driving all day and were grateful to finally find a place to stay for the night. And when the wind started rattling the windows, it made the room into a safe haven.
It was Jon’s idea to make reservations at the motel so close to our house. And I was all for it.
Sometimes, in the summer, I watch the campers and motorcycles drive by our house and imagine what the people in them think about the farm. I wonder if they see the animals, if it’s a landmark or memory for them on their trip.
Why can’t we do this at home, Jon asked me as we sat in the motel bed reading. Relax like this?
Because we work at home and the computer is only a few steps away. Anyway, there’s always something to do at home even if you don’t work there.
We could have been almost anywhere last night. An anonymous motel room, the landscape made invisible by the sleet and moonless night.
So close to home, we couldn’t have been further away.