BLUE AND SCREAMING INTO BATTLE
ALASKAN MARINE HIGHWAY: Once I was married. Seven years, in fact, just like the itchy jokes.
I fell in love on the Rome-Bologna train. We'd dashed to the station, determined to hop the next service, wherever it might lead, for the long weekend. His knapsack contained only a tattered volume of Xenophon, two oranges and a toothbrush.
And so we lived: ricocheting through England, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey. We rode our relationship hard and put it away wet. The glue factory was inevitable.
But I've always run straight at trouble like some woad-smudged berserker. You have just two speeds, my friend Edward complains. Inert and full throttle. If you don't figure out the middle gears, kid, you won't see 40.
But I fear the alternative, so ably expressed by Kent Nerburn in Road Angels: I've watched the light go out of too many of my friends' eyes as their lives turned from a crazy garden of weeds and wildflowers to a well-manicured lawn. I'm not ready for that yet. I need 'bears behind trees' surprises in life that are bigger than a plugged sewer line or an unexpected finance charge on my credit card ... If I don't have them, my life becomes just a long-term maintenance project.
There and back again.