Roadside serendipities

What are we really traveling for?

We travel for novelty. Newness. Something that opens a door in our mind and leaves it ajar . . .

When you’re on a road trip it’s all about the serendipities that pile one on top of another, filling the spaces of your day with small wonders.

See the man above?

We met on Canyon Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico, that angled road populated by more galleries than I’ve ever seen side by side. Anywhere. Not in New York or LA or Chicago will you find so much art shoulder to shoulder. All in adobe structures that even in their modernity take you back a thousand years.

There I was parked under a tree, perched in the second row of seats in our van, with the side door slung wide open. The family was elsewhere and I was finishing up work stuff via phone and laptop.

Several people stopped by to ask about the van. If you scan through previous posts of the past month or two you’ll see a few photos of it. It’s impressive. Gun metal grey. Large. Tall. Capable. People want to know what you’re doing with it.

This guy came up admiring the van and wondering about our travels . . . I in turn wondered about a slender tube of a suede case he had slung over his shoulder. He brightened, the way you do when someone notices something you treasure.

He pulled out a Native American flute . . . and played it for me. It’s high pitch lyrical simplicity transports you to another space. Suddenly you’re not in a pueblo town. You’re in the Southwest barrenscape, centered in the wind, ancient vistas splaying out before you.

Expression abounds. From the diner I just ate at in Wyoming dedicated to freedom and gun rights (the pony-tailed owner was packing a holstered handgun) to the metal creations welded together in front yards across America to roadside memorials for those who died traversing those roads.

Expressifying binds us together. For millennia it was survival that did so. Then trade, for a better life. Now, layered on top of those, is meaning. Isn’t it beautiful that a stranger can add meaning to my moment simply by showing up . . . and expressing who he is . . .

For you 

Evan Griffith
Click here for (occasional) notes at the intersection of creativity and spirit. Once a month, maybe.

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