How To Keep Your Roots On The Road

I’m going to be gone until August 27, doing this:

Boulder - Black Hills - Keystone - Blue Mounds - Winona - Nappanee - Gambier (and some stops in between)

To make up for my absence, though, expect a Massive Artsy Post (MAP*) on my travels when I get back. I’ve got my travel sketchbook packed, my watercolors condensed into a travel kit, my camera is charged, and I’m prepared to spend some quality time with a scanner when I get back.

Road trips always make me feel excited and uncomfortable at the same time: I don’t want to be one of those tourists that takes advantage of a rural place and then just heads back to my cushy privileged “regular” life. But in this case, I’m taking a friend back to school– legitimate reason, right? –and the Dakotas are calling to me way more than that long drive across Kansas.

Rurality (that is: roots, heritage, history, physicality, wisdom…) is functionally incompatible with Jack Kerouac. There are no roots “on the road.” That’s why trickster figures– the unpredictable Coyote and Ravin of myths and folk tales –appear in varied settings in different stories. Trickster figures are without a home (or at least, any stable or consistent home). They lack roots, and so it’s ironic that they have been consistently present in the indigenous folk tales of cultures for millenia.

Trickster has smarts, but no wisdom. (That’s why they say one has “street smarts,” but wisdom seems to be something more associated with rural values). And thus stealing, deception and trickery all reside at the crossroads. They characterize the traveling life.

Yet “on the road” is also where adventure, flexibility, and possibility come into play. And those things are necessary too. Justso long as one’s sense of Play doesn’t overwhelm one’s sense of Place.

Until the 26th, then!

*ha!

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1 Response to “How To Keep Your Roots On The Road”


  1. 1 Naomi August 22, 2010 at 1:11 am

    I did a similar drive from CA to Wisconsin and back a couple of years ago – great places to be seen along the way. Josh and I thought South Dakota and Wyoming were incredible. He also had never seen the midwest – to me, this means the plains, Illinois, Kentucky – so the greens of the hills and lush trees were very new to him. I forgot how much I loved the summers when I was a kid out in they country. Looking forward to your posts and pics!


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