I recently did a marathon. I drove 17 hours, from Rio Quente to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to present a cultural intelligence workshop at the United Nations World Urban Forum.
When the impossibly white fat and fluffy clouds, which have floated in an endless sea of sky, have given way to an inky darkness great tunes on my IPhone keep me bopping in my seat. At least I think they’re great.
Liam, my son, pronounces them crap. Repeatedly.
Finally a request to listen to the ‘Dave and Morley stuff’ (Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Café podcast) comes in. From Liam.
Liam, the one who is on the cusp of leaving behind childhood and entering teenagehood. Liam, the one who makes my head spin when in one moment, he’s chasing lizards (and dropping them in the pousada pool) and the next is talking about Life, with a capital ‘L’. Big questions. Big curiousity.
He’s at that curious stage where he believes with every fiber of his being that he is forging not just a brand new path but also a completely unique one. He doesn’t yet realize that many have gone before him, he doesn’t see the slightly crushed grass on the trail, the odd branch broken by folks in a hurry, folks who have been here before. Folks who have shunned their parents when peers were anywhere close. And yes, folks who complained bitterly about their parents’ music.
We’ve all sat at the same table, he just doesn’t know it yet.
Around about then he plays a Stuart McLean’s Christmas podcast. Matt Anderson comes on and sings an achingly beautiful rendition of ‘O Holy Night’.
I’m overcome. There in the middle of March, in the middle of Brazil I’m listening to a Christmas song. When Matt sings the well known verse ‘fall on your knees’, a lump as big as a walnut fills my throat.
I’m so grateful for this moment. To be traveling together through this bubble of blackness that our car headlights rhythmically pierce.
When you drive up a steep hill there’s a point where you can’t see where you’re going, where you can’t see beyond the crest of the hill. Your inclination is to put on the brakes but experience tells you to keep going.
The road hasn’t given up its secret, about what’s on the other side of the next hill. The headlights haven’t yet illuminated the unknown. I have to take a leap of faith and trust that the road, the road that many others have traveled before us, will rise up and meet us.
This is lovely! I drive a lot of highways and really liked how you wrote about not seeing what’s over the crest but trusting experience – that is a wonderful thought for me to keep. Also, my son was 11/12 when he fell in love with the Dave & Morley stories, and we’ve listened to many, many of those on our long car trips. Divine memories 🙂
Lee-Anne Ragan says
Glad you relate to that little visceral stomach yelp when you’re almost up and over the crest but can’t see ahead. I shake my head at Stuart McLean’s ability to write stories that engage all ages. Remarkable! About to hit the road again, this time from Rio to Sao Paulo to start the long trip home. Cheers to you. Lee-Anne