Clarity found on the road

I drove across a healthy swath of Iowa yesterday. Starting the early morning in Sioux City on the western side of the state. That followed a sprint from the Twin Cities the night prior - 4+ hours on the road with next to no one but longhaul truckers to fly by, ever believing in the saving power of cruise control. There's something well worn yet validating about driving a serious chunk of American highway. The rhythms of shuffling through on an iPod jacked into a rental car stereo being the only essential update on a ritualistic transit that feels occasionally necessary for anyone born in flyover America. After a morning out west, I drove to central Iowa. I eventually made my way into Des Moines where the area around Drake University's campus gave me some evening time to regroup and gather my thoughts over good coffee served by mildly distracted hipsters. Not that the drip coffee served in the gas stations and diners is bad. Tastes change, but the buzz remains the same. Much like that found on the road. I've gone poetically lowball on my accommodations the past two nights - motels, where the free WiFi provides a distraction from the otherwise questionable bedding. That's another update to this America we've all seen shift beneath us. But is it meaningful? Depends on what you do with it, I suppose. Regardless, I've been talking with the sort of people I know so well even if in the particular cases of these Iowans, they're new to me. And then this morning I took a satisfying, mind-clearing run to and through the Iowa State campus (last night's motel was a Super 8 just off I-35 in Ames). I loved how this weekend's NYTimes profile piece on Haruki Murakami gave further voice to how his running sustains him. I share that needful passion. A run in the morning orders my thoughts like no other constitutional act. Especially before, in my case, the day ahead means many many more miles on those highways. Today, more of Iowa. Then, Wisconsin. Like a salmon swimming back upstream. In short doses this sort of migration is what connects me - and maybe more of us than we take time to realize - to the country we miss so much.