Night Driving

asphalt road timelapse photography

Everything looks different in the dark, and you think differently, too. It is why for many years night drives became my primary source for inspiration. Many night drives made up the majority of my time that I lived in the state of Colorado. Naturally, it is a beautiful place; generally, the people aren’t that bad, either. Also, the roads tend to always go somewhere familiar no matter which direction you decide to go. Every road comes back around to some major city somewhere, even if you have to drive for a few hours.

Now in Vermont, this was the first true night drive that Thomas and I had taken together in our new home state. Our destination was a town in Northern central Vermont. Along the way, we drove through a town with business names that bring both chuckles and intrigue. There was a Chinese takeaway restaurant called “Yummy Wok.” There was a general store called “The Whatnot Shop.” Even the “Laundramat” was misspelled, as if on purpose, to make it appear to be a premier self service laundry destination.

But, for most of our drive, it was open country. Fields of darkness spanned both to the left and to the right of us. Bodies of water were obscured by the night and only hints of distant spotlights barely even suggested the presence of a pond or lake; this was even as my senses informed me of cool breezes blowing over them.

In one way, night drives allow you to commune with nature more directly, as there are far fewer distractions of what is likely not properly named civilization. Riding along asphalt and concrete strips that curve and twist and bend giving way to nature’s whims of topography, eventually the paths we drove on turn to gravel, then dirt. It’s at this point we decide to turn around, as the darkness soon becomes all we can see. Not far ahead was the border of our very nation, so we would’ve turned back sooner than later, anyhow.

There are many places and faces I’d rather soon forget, not just in front of me now but far behind me, too. I’ve spent most of my life feeling disconnected and made to feel diminutive. I became seen as an unmitigated failure, an embarrassment only in the mind of others, driven to prove greatness can emerge out of the most unexpected of valleys to achieve unprecedented peaks. My very own life journey is mirrored in the travels through valleys, rolling hills, and scarred mountains.

As we traveled the meandering highway that connects our neck of the woods with the rest of civilization, a full moon shone high above us. It suddenly became far behind as we raced towards home. That night, we had chosen a distant destination. While the place itself was a let down our hopes for discovery, my partner and I still found inspiration along the way.

Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy.
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