It is quiet, out there on the horizon. The clouds massing grey above it, like mountains.
I am not yet driving into the sun. I am in northern Ohio, flat as the flattest land I've lived in. That was in Illinois, where the land does not move. Wind moves against it, above it. The trees strand their upright selves against it, if they stand there at all. It is a field conjoined with another field and another at this point, the highway slicing its cool lines down their centers, bridges of county roads set straight and easy across. You almost conjoin with the country around you, miss it by twenty feet of height.
This is what it is to drive all day. Tired. Caffeine and sugar coat the tongue, an artificial tonic.
On the horizon the clouds mass for sunset. It is almost as if you were dipping down into a harbor -- see how the sun reflects off the water -- see your own reflection in the mirror, the color in the sky behind the car. There are the grey clouds, huge, massing themselves for rain. But in the sky, behind them, there are gold and pink and lavender, layering themselves down and down and down.
You are straight against it. You drive in your set scheduled line. The highway guides you. Signs lead you off the various exits. Here. Is this your home? Is this?
The mountain is set in the sky. Grey and white. Grey and white and not pink. It does not glow. It sets itself against the sky. It rises. Darker.
I have always lived in a flat land, even when I was young, in California, where I can hardly remember the purple peaks. I have lived on the flood plain, in tornado alley, in the land of nothing the eye can see but buildings buildings and even were we not on the great plains that would be a flat horizon. It is a flat landscape. Here is the suburb. Here is the next suburb. Here are the roads, here are the malls. Flat land stretching its hollow self over you, over your searching eyes.
I have been to Colorado, to the Appalachians in West Virginia. I have slept, cradled, in Yosemite. I have crossed Monarch Pass, climbing into the sky at the continental divide. I have walked my way up a mountain, seen the glacial water gathered in turquoise ponds six hours below me. I have breathed the thinning air and gone on into thinner.
Maybe if the sky were closer. Maybe if the road does dip, a little further on.