A year ago last week, I packed up my car and moved to Wyoming for the summer. It may have been the best three continuous months of my life, and still I wake up some mornings thinking I must have dreamed it.
But this isn’t about my summer in Narnia (sans the talking god-lion). It’s about the car that got me there.
I’ve almost put forty thousand miles on my Honda CRV that I got four years ago. Affectionately, he’s known as Humphrey the Honda. Humphrey is in another league compared to Timmy the-bottomless-money-pit Saturn that got passed like Scabbers (where my Harry Potter stans at?!) down through my chain of siblings. My Honda is my baby.
That car is one of my favorite places to be. It’s the car that took me to school and back when I wasn’t sure ISU was the place I wanted to be. It’s the car that saw me sob when I had to leave ISU too. It’s the car that has taken me to the Rocky Mountains twice. The car that I only just discovered had bass in it last fall. It’s the trunk that I sat in watching the clouds last summer while watering our fairground plots. The car that was waiting for me when I climbed back down from my first Colorado 14er.
Last week, when Taylor Swift re-released her music on Spotify, I jumped in my car for my lunch break and drove, singing along. It’s the first place I wanted to be. Damn you, Taylor Swift, and your relatable, infectious music.
That’s one of the things I love most in the world. Driving and singing. I can play the music loud enough that I can’t hear how awful I am, and I can explore, escape, and move distances I could never cover on foot. And I’m alone. I’m free. I’m free to sing horribly and I’m free to travel in whichever direction I choose. Those four wheels are the closest things I’ve got to wings.
When I was still at school and a rough day would creep up on me, the habits were the same. Jump in my car and drive. I explored. I learned how to get around without a map by simply getting lost and finding my way out again. I sang at the top of my lungs to let go over whatever it was that was bothering me. I found a safety in my car to just be.
Really, it’s not at all safe, but I digress.
So, maybe this is a little bit about Wyoming, since those months were filled with driving and music. So much so that I can remember first hearing Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind” while the Rockies rose up to meet me as I ventured into Colorado, or being introduced to Watsky while running laps around the old high school’s track.
I remember writing dialogue in my head while driving through the Laramie range at sunset a few days before I left, and hopping on I-80 for Cheyenne on the Forth of July.
That car has been my life line. Home in a moving box of metal. There are days I forget how much I love it, and there are some summer days, with a crack in the windows and “Treacherous” pouring off my lips, I remembered how good it feels to just drive.