The car was packed and I was ready to get the hell out of there, the clock read 4:30am and I was wondering why did I think waking up this early was a good idea. Coffee of course was the solution to my tired eyes, although it was the burn that left in my tongue after the first sip what kept me up instead of the caffeine. It wasn't until the sun peek through the horizon and shined on I-70 through my rearview mirror, that I finally felt awake. It was a familiar sight that filled my heart and put a smile on my face the same way it has done before. For some reason the road soothes my mind and calms me down, I live for this sunrises and sunsets in different places, I know they're always the same thing but it never feels that way.
I really enjoy driving through the plain prairies of Western Kansas and Eastern Colorado, I anxiously wait for the fields to be planted and the crops to be green, just so that my eyes can submerge into the contrast of yellows and greens from the current crops and the dead left over stems from the harvest. In occasions, I get to see cattle grazing on the pastures and it takes me back to when I was a little kid back in Chile. Running after cows and thinking I was actually helping my dad.
I'm sure I get from him, I'm sure he is the reason why driving for all day doesn't bother me and why I anxiously look for reasons to get out in the open spaces. I mean, I never understood what it was like, I was asleep on the passenger seat all the time, only to be awaken by him whenever it was time to eat. For weeks at a time he was gone, traveling through horrible roads, loading and unloading his truck with all the supplies needed to keep the logging workers safe up in the mountains. I was lucky to be his companion on some of this trips while I was growing up and now I realize how much they impacted me.
Other times I would wake up grunting the time on the clock as I headed over to the barn. For every morning I had to grab the bales and feed the cattle we had at our house on the days before the fair, something that now I wish I could keep doing. My father calls it his hobby for some reason, I think it might be because he refuses to let his mind associate that effort with work, but I've seen everything that he does as a farmer, and it surpasses my expectations of what a "hobby" should be like.
Now that I'm somewhat of an adult I can try using this "mature" eyes to see what growing up was actually all about. I can understand the struggles we really had and where most of our customs and thoughts come from. Nothing but respect, admiration and love fills up my heart and soul whenever I dive into thoughts about my childhood and how far our family has come thanks my two biggest role models. Something I hope I'll be able to give my kids, if I ever have some.
My dad has somehow managed to find the middle ground between risks and carefulness, and has always taught me that I can do whatever I want to, but that the worst thing that I can do is dying from a stupid mistake, some dumb chance or someone else's carelessness. Still, since a very young age the idea of being able to get myself to places far away from home was implanted in my head. I was constantly being told to look after what I had, how things should break only because they have served beyond their time. How vehicles end up having a life of their own--proof of all this were his trucks, beaten into a rusty pile of metal that would refuse to stop working. Even with a pick up full of holes they would proudly hold on to their load; just as much as when they were brand new. Monday through Sunday they would run from sun up til sun down, without a rest.
Whenever I call him he always says things like--talk to them when they start acting up or tell them you're gonna sell'em if they keep at it-- while laughing on the phone. Now I laugh at myself because the same advices and habits I used to think were stupid, have become a routine.
"Don't worry; if you take care of him, this truck will break your back before you break him"
Right after crossing the Colorado border my mind started racing with thoughts about streams and trout, the 14rs I planned on hiking and the nights I planned on camping move to second priority. Without a fail I get a text message from my dad asking where am at followed by a-- is there any fishing around there?-- I proceed to laugh and answer--yeah already have a spot in mind--Growing up we didn't get to go out and fish much, he was always busy, but now it's slowly becoming our favourite thing to do. Dealing with a twenty year old's bullshit is too much for any parent, and old man problems are foreign to anyone my age, so fishing suits us both perfectly. There isn't much interaction while we are at it, except for those occasions when either one of us hears the water splashing from a bite in the line and we look over to see the other fighting for a catch, we proceed to anxiously wait until the prize is brought out of the water--a look followed by a laugh from a distance and we are back at it. In those days waking up at 4:30 am seems more like a gift than a pain.
After three days, some fishing and some hiking, Colorado was slowly being left in the rearview mirror just like kansas a few days earlier. I proceed my slow march through the plain deserted scenery of Utah and Nevada. I avoid the Interstates as much as I can, so as I move through this states I can't help but to pay attention to the deserted views I'm being fed by this apparently never ending concrete path--it's all just one straight line that seems to stretch all the way to the horizon,
Once again a smile fills my face and hides all the feeling of solitude I might have, even from myself. I need to keep moving, the highway is empty and the sun is shining so why would I stop. Many things are waiting for me if I just manage to get to that horizon. The car is still running good and I have plenty of coffee, can't wait to get off this desert and go back to that sea of green.