Keen on the Keystone State

I am moving east again. In four weeks I will load up my trusty Subaru, and cut across a few local roads to merge onto I-76-East. And then drive. By now it's a routine. Eight months ago I put the rolling farm roads of Pennsylvania in my rear-view mirror as I drove west to Boulder. And 16 months before that I watched the smudged caps of the Sangre de Cristo peaks disappear behind me as I left New Mexico and drove for Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Akron, and finally a new job in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley. Now I'll be moving to Lancaster, PA, a small city about 90 minutes southwest of where I lived before.

But this time something will be different. Sure, I'll have my battleship posters, book cases, and comforting knick-knacks that I've hung on walls going back to Boston, and even before. But I'll also have someone to share this new move and new home with. My wife-to-be, Jackie. We'll get married two weeks before we trundle into Lancaster (pronounced "Lan-KIS-ter," I've been told or warned) with our combined belongings and another open road, one of sharing our lives, ahead of us. And for that road, I don't own a map. Same for my new career as a freelance writer, though I've met some travelers on both. We'll figure it out.

All these changes remind me of a poem called "Old Paths" I wrote years ago when I first learned to drive. The road that inspired this poem was Stoney Hill Drive, not far from the house where I grew up in Hudson, Ohio.

Old Paths

You know you’ve grown up

when one day, driving fast on a road

you realize how many times you

biked up this hill in childhood struggle.

Feet pounding the pedals, body arched in conflict

with the cruel rise.

the gears slip automatically
to the machine's prescribed rhythm.
The curves dwindle in the background,
memories regulated to a small, rectangular mirror.
Already, I forget what road it was.