Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Many people, I presume, could name the model of the wide white car following my black Honda Fit on Vermont Route 105 a week ago. In my rear view mirror, I could make out behind their sunglasses a young man at the wheel and a woman in the passenger seat. The driver seemed desperate to pass me. He twice accelerated when the broken line appeared on our side of the two-lane road and both times had to slow down when oncoming traffic suddenly appeared.

What I could not explain to this man was the car marked “Border Patrol” that I had spotted behind roadside shrubbery ten minutes after being stopped at customs. My three-night stay at the Benedictine monastery of Saint-Benoît-du-Lac had been my first entry into Canada in close to twenty years. I had admitted as much to the customs officer, but I wondered whether there was a pattern to how people drive in their first miles into Vermont that alerts officials to suspicious activity.

I was innocent, I was at pains to explain.

I could not help, though, looking like a man in his early sixties. I could not help driving a modest car. I could not help having barely more than a Google Maps acquaintance with the landscape around me.

I felt compelled to drive within the posted limits.

And I resented that scarcely an hour after a final silent breakfast in the guesthouse dining room I was losing the mood of my days away. More precisely, I felt the ebbing of the long-familiar wonder with which I customarily greet my life and the sky over it when a retreat is over. I had wanted that time with my history of days away and weekends of recollection to last a little longer.

Sometimes rural Louisiana. Often the coastline of New England. Even once the Loire Valley.

And then the white car passed me.

In a little while the road was mine again.


Memories Among Other Things said...

A moment of acceleration for a spotted destination passing by a recollection of older ones.

John said...

There's the precise perspective that acknowledges the energies that co-exist on the same road or path.