Summer is road trip season for my family (my guess is that it’s road trip season for a lot of people). It’s the favorite mode of travel for all of us; planes are handy but really not particularly pleasant. Also you miss out on all the scenery along the way (unless you have a window seat, I suppose, although it’s not the same). This year, for the first time in a few, we get to make a trip all together. . . . . in fact, that might just be where I am right now as you read this.
I made the Polaroids I am sharing in this post when I was on the road last year. I shared many of them via cell phone snap on Instagram, when they were still fresh, and I was surprised by the attention they received. For that trip I only had black & white instant film with me, and I regretted not having color when I experienced the incredible light of New Mexico. The only place I could find that sold it, however (a shop on the square in Santa Fe), was charging 3 times the online price, so I took that as a sign to stick with what I had.
Metaphors aren’t lost on me, especially when I find myself living one. Last year’s trip was a last minute, much needed escape. I was reeling from being kicked in the teeth by a system I had thought was put in place to protect me. I had been lost, barely keeping my head above the level of the water in the well of sorrow I’d been shoved into. By the time I returned home, I was most definitely found.
The road on that trip was a place of rebirth for me. I was reminded of the person I used to be - the free woman I had been before I started getting beaten down - the free woman I had been all along, without realizing it. The cab of the truck operated for me like one of those sensory deprivation chambers, letting me cast off all the baggage that had been clinging to me for so many years. Sometimes you have to step outside of yourself to get back to being yourself.
The World can take away just about whatever it wants from you, but it can’t touch what’s inside of you. It can’t take away what it didn’t give in the first place. Its powers don’t extend that far.
I’m thankful I have the time to pay attention to the journey and not just focus on where I want to go. Time has taught me that the destinations I have in mind are usually little more than a mirage: shifting, moving, dissolving in response to the capriciousness of life. Where I end up isn’t entirely up to me, anyway; it never has been. Every day I reach back into the jar of hope for another helping of the grace that brings me the peace I need to relax and not worry about the illusion of control.
Wherever your road takes you this summer, I hope it’s a happy place that you reach in the end!
All photographs Polaroid Originals One Step 2 and I type B&W film. These aren’t all the Polaroids I made; there are tons more. I’ve been thinking about putting them together into a zine, but have so far lacked the motivation. . . . . .