Driving over the Blue mountains of eastern Oregon in winter. The highway has a foot of powder snow over it and all I can see of earth and sky is two faint red tail lights of the car in front of me. We all slow to ten, then five miles an hour and then finally we stop. Like a nose to tail pony ride that has lost its way home.
We get out of our cars and trucks and stand in the middle of the highway and talk about what to do as the snow deepens and night falls around us. We decide we will each drive ten miles an hour and keep the tail lights in front visible, with no sudden braking.
Minutes crawl by like hours, hours like days. Often the windshield is completely blanketed but I know I can’t stop so I estimate direction and keep going.
Something happens out there. We are no longer of this earth but become suspended above it in an intimate living room of white felt and urgent love. The trucker behind me knows my thoughts as well as I do. My two year old son sleeps in the back seat unaware.
Somehow, this time, after what seems like an eternity, the circus finds the park. Baker City appears from nowhere and the makeshift survival convoy converges on the truck stop diner for pie, happy relief and smiles. We knew it would be ok, really.
I write this this morning as I read of a fifty car pile up last night on that same stretch of road under similar conditions. People life-flighted to Portland and Boise, though no one killed, thank God.
Here’s to hoping — for all of us everywhere — that the circus continues to find the park.