One of my favorite times to really consider what I’ve learned so far is while I’m driving. Often, with no radio, no music, and no podcast, I would drive in silence for hours reflecting on the towns I’ve seen, patterns that seem to be emerging, and the people who’ve touched my heart along the way.
As I drove to Newfoundland, there were days, upon days, of no radio reception. None. After feeling myself reel through thoughts for far too many cycles, I’d pull out my phone and make an audio recording for later.
For someone who’s been on the road, solo, for five months, the solitary conversations were powerful moments for me to string together my thoughts. It gave me solace to know that the endless months hadn’t unhinged my brain. (Although these untethered days sometimes did make me feel that way.)
This is how the loop of my brain would go. It was, perhaps, my own form of meditation. I’d start by just feeling the hum of the road and watching the fields fly by. My thoughts would soon start to wander to where I’ve been. In this meditation, I watched them wander and then settle on a person, or a feeling, or a place.
As I drove through the ocean of Nova Scotia I thought about the sea. I thought about how much like Mississippi the sea is. “What?” you might say. “How can you say the sea is like Mississippi? It’s such an impoverished state.
Well, here in this meditative state, I thought: if you were to be a diver and drop under the ceiling of the sea you’d see deep down to the ocean floor. You’d see so much of our discarded world, decaying among the weeds. The tons and tons of bait boxes that are tossed overboard from Alaska to Maine. The miles of plastic that circles in a vortex and is consumed by mammals. One man told me of a whale that was beached. Turns out he had 2,000 pounds of plastic in his belly. And then there’s the seagrass, or lack there off. This is one of the biggest concerns along the coast line of Maine these days. The various varieties are sought after by lands afar. Increasing industry is plucking this grass at amazing rates. Here in America, few know this challenge, as most of us have no taste for this delicacy. As it is shipped to lands beyond the lands in between, coastlines are changing at an alarming rate. Like Mississippi, these communities are desperate for economic stability.
My mind then wanders.
Am I a nationalist?
In this way, perhaps I am.