Updated: Sep 25
The temps soared to the high 90s, the sun was bright, and Ken and I took to the open road on Saturday for me to give a Humanities Kansas presentation on the Holocaust and Polish resistance. We also got to hang out with our friends Victoria and Kurt, talking perennial prairie plants (especially Ken and Victoria), the best Lebanese food in Wichita, and updates on the young’uns in our lives.
Having not taken many road trips, whether for work or family or whimsy, for a while, I forgot how good it feels to be driving a stretch through high rolling hills (the Flint Hills in this case) and big skies on a good afternoon. It’s equally enchanting to drive at sunset, watching the sky orange and pale-blue itself to black. There’s something about going high speeds through such a landscape and skyscape that always clears my mind and leaves me with a greater sense of calm, satisfaction, and everything-is-going-to-be-okay relief.
Then there’s the conversation, especially when there’s spacious time to just dwell in one idea or question after another, you can have with a spouse, pal, kid, or relative in moving vehicles. After over 40 years of talking with Ken long after we should be asleep and whenever we can all through the day, I’m still intrigued by what he knows, how he sees things, and what delights him. Among our topics were:
What did Stevie Nick really mean in every line of “Landslide,” why did she write this song, and what does “Can the child in my heart rise above?/ Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?/ Can I handle the seasons of my life?” say to us about our lives?
What exactly just happened in Russia with the mercenary army and why should we be scared (or not) by this?
Who are the high school friends who were really there for us then and how are they (or aren’t they) in our lives now?
What were we doing and freaking out about when we were our kids’ ages?
If we could clone our sweet kitty, would we and would it be worth it?
Why is iced tea so good?
Why is Pat Metheny’s “As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls” 19-minute song so amazing, and listen for when he incorporates children’s voices on a playground in the song.
How long will the chuck-will’s-widow bird keep landing on our swing set most mornings about 5:40 a.m.?
What is the oldest light in the night sky that we can see with the naked eye?
I hope all of us get our version of open-road conversations, the kind that re-energize us even when truck-stop storming for something cold and caffeinated to drink on summer days.