When I drive to the office each morning, I spend 40 minutes looking east in the direction that Wisconsin and Lake Michigan meet. Usually, the majority of my time is spent trying to block the sun as it rises from the land while my radio is blaring with some DJ telling me the “top stories” in Hollywood or the latest “Missed Connections” at a local YMCA. But today, my morning drive was steered by something else.
As I entered the freeway this morning, I considered turning on the radio to fill the silence. I found my hand inadvertently pulling from the steering wheel and drifting toward the radio a number of times before I was struck by something that erased all need for useless noise. I contemplated capturing a picture, but no picture taken by my iPhone from the freeway could ever do justice. Above me was the clear, open autumn sky with only a few flickers of morning birds. Following it east, my eyes rested on the horizon where tall, billowing clouds seemed to rise from the land like rolling hills among distant mountains. There was no telling where the land ended and the clouds began; everything had become one. The soft, climbing peaks obstructed the morning sun’s glow at first, but soon gave way to a golden lining of light and rippled shadows.
I found myself transported from my morning commute to destinations I had once known. From the tree-covered cliffs that enveloped me while driving in Connecticut to the mountainous valleys of Hondón de las Nieves, Spain where I spent a month discovering another life, my heart filled with an energized tranquility I have for so long been without. I could feel life running through my veins as memories drove my senses back to times when I felt most alive. I was no longer driving to work; I was driving to the beautiful unknown that would captivate me and reflect such fulfilling memories on my life in the future.
As I approached my off-ramp into downtown Milwaukee, the horizon was no longer visible behind the city and the sun had risen enough to directly hit buildings, casting shadows on all below.
Though my mountains are no longer in view, I can still see them perfectly every time I close my eyes.