Morning’s Drive Down


Tick, tick, tick. The engine rumbles at a high pitch, soon settling at a lower idle.

He puts on the defrost, watching the ice retreat.

The morning held a peaceful taint. The trees glimmered slightly, the sun beaming through them to create ballads of light and dark. He thought of the juxtapositions this could represent. Man vs nature. Danger vs. peace. Nothing novel, he decided, nothing could ever be more than black and white.

The engine revved, then clicked and clacked as he put it into gear.

The dirt seemed less bumpy today. Perhaps from the ice. Maybe it was the freshness of the day. He avoids the rocks and stones, trying to drive on the patches of gravel. He doesn’t pay much attention to his driving, his movement repeating the choices made long ago when the road was novel. He avoids the ditches created by runoff water.

The road was mostly straight. It had a couple curves, and a couple more twists. At times there was a shoulder, at times the road ended with a cliff. The road crosses two bridges. One’s made of 2 logs, placed so that each tire would be centered on them. It crossed a light stream, though the gulch is the reason for the bridge. The stream, although light now, becomes a raging river during the late winter and spring that tore a gulch on the mountainside. The second bridge is concrete, crossing the river at the bottom of the valley. It was installed years ago after a flood. It consists of concrete slabs and metal railing.

He sits back in the leather seats, letting them conform to his body. The seats were worn enough to be comfortable. The newer cars don’t have this feeling to them as you sit, as you drive. They feel bland and stale, he thought. He was glad to have a rustic car. They’ll never feel the same.

To either side of the road were trees. Pines and firs hug the road. Under them various amounts of brush and grass. They held a bluish tint that he blamed on the frost. They had gotten a lot of rain over the summer; the plant life was left flourishing into fall.

The sun peaks over the trees, he had to look away from the road for a second before putting on glasses. He let his foot off the gas, the car slowed.

He didn’t like driving on the pavement. On the gravel you hear the road, on rocks you feel the Earth. On cliffs you feel the danger of the mountains. Over rivers you were reminded of the tragedies of nature. Pavement disconnected you. It puts a steel barrier between you and the cliff. Never gets old, he declared.

He rounds the last corner before heading into town, viewing the mess of cabins and houses. He passes an old ski resort that has long been out of business and is now owned by an old couple that use it for storage.

He pulls onto the shoulder, twisting the key. He listens to the silence of the car, hearing the heat disappear. I’ll never enjoy another human’s attention, he thought. Let’s just get this over with.