Sunday, January 3, 2010

Change in Departure

The Midwest has some rather nasty weather headed for it, so I've decided that that, coupled with my dislike of crossing the Appalachians after dark, is sufficient reason to alter my departure plans. I had originally planned to leave on Monday and drive straight through. Based on the weather, I have decided that it will be much wiser and safer to leave tomorrow, drive halfway (or more) and then finish up the driving on Monday. The Appalachians will be slippery, so I think hitting them in the morning would be much better than hitting them in the evening. Also, this gives me the advantage of getting in early enough to pick up more than just "immediate survival" groceries when I get in on Monday.

Michigan is one of those states that is usually quite easy to leave. While the state does have its charms, on the whole, it's become a dismal, depressing place. The gray, soulless skies of winter, the frigid temperatures, and the fatally wounded economy have braided themselves together to create an environment of depression and resignation. The snow can be lovely, but the slush negates a great deal of the beauty. I know that I have personally found it a poor place to recuperate from the mental anguish wrought by events in Manassas. Lynchburg, Virginia, on the other hand, can sometimes be every bit as cold, but is usually milder, and is nearly always sunny with blue skies. Believe me, sunshine and blue skies make nearly every situation seem more hopeful. In addition, the multiple layers of mountains in varying shades of blue are calming and comforting, bringing a feeling of internal peace when viewed.

Michigan certainly has its glory days of beauty in the spring, summer, and fall, but winter in Michigan is like being sucked into a black hole of seemingly endless melancholy. I've often noted how nearly everyone becomes shorter tempered during the winter months, and present jobless economy is doing nothing to help all that. It's hard watching the state you grew up in shrivel up and die, but unless an economic miracle happens, that looks to be the continuing pattern here. It will be very good to get away.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"