Saturday, February 4, 2012
Driving in the rain
The highway dark and wet. My lights on high, then dim, as cars careen around corners toward me. Driving rain splacking my windshield a thousand times between each wiper swish, and the wipers on fast. My speed slows on a corner where I can’t see the stripes through the sitting water; the only indicator of the existence of my lane is a vague line where the rumble strip might be, and the reflectors floating a few feet above where the shoulder of the road should be. And the double dark streams in the ruts worn into the pavement. But the black water in those grooves suctions hard at the tires, threatens to tear the wheel out of my hands if I wander into or out of them. As I follow just alongside those dark, curving leeches of water, the wipers wick more droplets away, thin hands that brush off the constant onslaught and allow me to keep moving. I focus on the open air ahead of me. Dark gap, marked only by blackness below and above, by slow-moving roadside reflectors on the right, and fast-moving headlights on the left . Bright lights. Still more blinding reflections that beam towards me on the water sitting on the roadway -- like neon shadows stretching between me and the oncoming car, like wild watercolor paint spills, quivering under the fall of raindrops. The lights burn into my sight like pale blue, yellow-gold or bright white sets of eyes leaking their long reflections between us. They advance like double blares of vibrant music getting sharper and shorter and stronger. I wince to lessen the impact, and tense to the moment I will sail past into the freedom of the open road.