My internal compass always pointed North toward the horizon line, and I had a tendency to get myself into trouble when I followed it without permission. It wasn’t the unknown that instilled consequences but rather those who feared the unfamiliar. I knew even then that it was a trap to seek permission from those who’d never granted it to themselves.
In those days, if a hand hadn’t pulled me from the back of my shirt I would’ve walked forever toward the edge, even after the sun disappeared unapologetically into the deep divide. I would’ve traveled miles in the dark, even through the wind and rain, to reach the mouth of freedom.
Off Highway 30 in Southwest Wyoming the cows marched in unison toward an invisible white horizon line, and the wind blew snow across the road like the strokes of a painter’s brush.
“Why don’t you just stay?” I heard them say. I could no longer tell whose voice it was. It could’ve been my pastor from a decade before, my dearest friends, my beloved parents, my previous love, or my own fear. It could’ve even been the voices of those on the sidelines whose faces I didn’t even recognize. It didn’t matter; the voices had always been there whether I left the church, my hometown, my lover’s arms, or my own expectations. Overtime they multiplied into a chorus of voices that called from the crevices of my mind. “Can’t you just stay?”
But out in front of me the sun was beginning to melt into the horizon line like a rainbow push pop on a hot summer day. Without cell service it was just the two of us on the edge, separated by only a two lane strip of black asphalt. As it poured itself into the crack that separated the earth from the sky, I drove longingly toward its open invitation to the unknown.