I’ve driven across this country so many times, there begins to be a familiarity to the feelings of the various regions and their highways. I made a list of similes for driving different directions around America. These are 3 of them:
Driving east across the prairie of Kansas feels like opening my mouth and walking slowly into a lake.
Driving west through the heart of Texas into New Mexico feels like sinking naked into a mound of soft dirt.
Driving on the New Jersey turnpike feels like being immersed in a swimming pool filled with aquarium props.
Metaphorical devices in language are often used to describe and communicate phenomena which are difficult to say directly. They can be beautiful and powerful tools of communication, connecting people to each other and to memory using descriptions of sensory experience.
I’ve been thinking about this country, about the current administration and it’s disregard for civil and environmental justice. The voices on the news come in waves clamoring over one another, angry and indignant, and I find myself wishing for an eye in the middle of this storm of information. A frustration builds up as I feel the helplessness of being caught in a system that is working against the good of the people and the planet—a frustration that I don’t know what to say about this situation, that I can’t find a way to use my voice and my hands to make something coherent out of this mess—and that one voice may be useless anyways.
The thing that grounds me is the poetry of the country itself—the land. Words dissolve into abstract threads, but that abstraction forms a cloak around a center void. The tension of implied movement stresses the anxiety of systemic ensnarement.
Lakes burst their banks, a cacophony rains down from the sky, but the boat is still moored in the current.