Wednesday, August 1, 2007

the mother road

This book is dedicated to historic Route 66, the Mother Road. One day it will be gone. Pieces of it disappear as I write this line. And when it dies, among its remains will be many tales and memories of the way it never was, and that’s all right; for the road is mythic, and myths tend to swell with each telling. From now on, let every tall story begin: Once upon a time there was a great highway…

And that part is true…

--Carol O'Connell

Maybe there is no longer a need to exhume the ghosts of the past. The dust is so thick, and memory solidifies into untrustworthy forms. You might realize, rifling through a stack of parched papers, insistently engraved in your grandfather's hand, that there are many stories, but not enough love to sustain them. What use is it to dredge up what is lost, what was lost long before the breath moved out beyond the atmosphere. You might say that these stories, were, after all, always your own, your desperate attempt at redeeming what can never be redeemed. Then so be it. Let the dust settle as it was meant to do, to cover by patient accretion the no-longer-living.

There was a road that once was vital and well-travelled, and music and dancing and camping flitted along its expanse beneath the neon lights from Chicago to L.A. The road is gone, and though you might keep driving, you will never reach the destination.