Sunday, May 23, 2010

On the Road

A week ago Monday, I left my home outside of Washington, DC, and hit the trail.

I drove through Maryland, and its mountains, along winding roads. At one point, I could look down into a valley where a white-steepled church sat in a pool of swirling mist.

From there I drove in-and-out of West Virginia, not trusting my GPS, and finally stopping at a tourist rest station. There I noticed how the highway wove through several states, and I wished I'd paid more attention when I took geography years ago! It was raining hard, which caused my heart to pound as I motored up and down steep hills marked with lanes for runaway trucks.

In Ohio, I found myself behind an Amish buggy. It was raining hard, drops coming down in slanting silver streaks on my windshield. I slowed down, and when it seemed safe, I passed the conveyance. Inside were two girls, bundled up in black, with bonnets covering their hair. Only their eyes showed. Their faces were pale and wary. I wondered how many cars had threatened their safety on that highway--and I wished them Godspeed and safety as they traveled. They seemed so vulnerable to me!

In Illinois, I drove past flat cornfields I once visited when I worked for Illinois Farm Bureau. I found myself checking to see if the owners "farmed ugly," which means that they were leaving stubble in the fields to hold down the precious topsoil. Heavy-bottomed clouds gathered on the horizon, threatening and ominous. When they formed a backdrop for a dark, red-stained barn, I gasped at the lovely contrast of colors.

On the border of Missouri, I squinted into the darkening sky and found that beautiful silver ribbon, the Arch, welcoming me home. The Mississippi was muddy and greenish, but along the current floated a tangle of brown branches. Then along came a white barge, with a red cabin, merrily muscling along a brown and lumpy load of goods. I wondered if this scene was similar to one that Mark Twain beheld, near this same spot.

I am tired--and invigorated. My fans have told me how much they enjoy Kiki. I've been honored by the many people who turned out to visit with me. I've been thrilled by the kind welcome from so many booksellers. I've thoroughly enjoyed spending time with scrapbookers and scrapbook store owners. I've net many new friends along the way.

It's been great fun...but I can't wait to get back to my home computer and start writing again!


Linda O. Johnston said...

What a delightful-sounding road trip, Joanna. I hope you continue to enjoy yourself, meet readers and booksellers, and stay safe!

Camille Minichino said...

You're in beautiful country, Joanna. I'll bet your scrapbook will be, too!

Betty Hechtman said...

It sounds like a neat trip. Were you all alone or did you have company?

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Thanks, sisters. I'm glad to be home!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Betty, I was lucky to have my dear Aunt Shirley with me as a traveling companion. I didn't mention her--I wrote the post at 10 p.m. after a long day--but she's a gem!