Take The Way Home

No matter the weather forecast, the top to my Miata was staying down. That’s what I told myself as I started the 175 mile trip from Ogden to Rock Springs. I kept the radio off until I got through the twisty section of Highway 84 that winds up through Weber Canyon.

The steep canyons amplified the exhaust note. Rock on one side and the Weber River on the other. Taking corners just hard enough to squeal the tires. In any other car, I’d be alternating my attention between the digital clock and speedometer. But in a convertible my mind and reflexes were focused on the journey. Who cares how long the trip would take.

Take the way home that leads back to Sullivan Street
Past the shadows that fall down wherever we meet
Pretty soon now I won’t come around

Eventually the twisties gave way to straight expanses of highway with little more than a farmhouse or herd of cows to catch my attention. Back then the radio waves were dominated by the OJ trial.

Weeks earlier I caught the tail end of a video on MTV from the Counting Crows. I’d never heard of them before but liked their sound enough to pickup “August and Everything After”. I’d pop them into my cassette player just about the time I’d pass over the Utah border into Wyoming. It was the soundtrack to my journey.

If she remembers, she hides it whenever we meet
Either way now, I don’t really care
Cause I’m gone from there

I’d recently graduated from college, landed my first job and began to wonder if this is all post-college life had to offer. The melancholy mood of “August” matched my personal life at the time. I was “just another rider burned to the ground”. It was as if these songs were written for me.

As I learned the lyrics they began to sting a bit. Yet I couldn’t stop listening.

My career was just starting and I didn’t have a lot of responsibilities or people relying on me. I was naive and stupid. The highlight of my week was watching Letterman crank call the mattress shop. The world revolved around me and who was going to tell me otherwise?

It’s impossible to listen to Sullivan Street without imaging that cool canyon breeze rushing through my hair along with the angst and uncertainly that accompanied me on these trips.

I’m almost drowning in her seas
She’s nearly crawling on her knees
She’s down on her knees

I had no idea what lay ahead of me. I’m glad I couldn’t see into the future or it would have tarnished this magnificent time of reflection.


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