Ode to Dirt Roads

Scattered with rocks
Rough and ragged,
Their packed-earth path leads me to freedom.
Roads to nowhere–just where I want to go.
Meandering through canyons and over draws
Drifting past cliffs
Cutting through open plains of sagebrush and cacti.
Sandstone buttes rise, stoic

and poised like monuments scattered across the horizon.
Pinon and cottonwood observe silently
Tumbleweed dance past.
Cows stand, bemused.
The texture of the road as varied as human skin
Displaying scars, bruises, scabs, blood, wrinkles, soft fleshy shades.
A dichotomy of order and disorder,
fragility and vitality,
scarcity and abundance,
Welcoming forbearance and ominous hazard.

I gun the engine.
A cloud of dust rises from behind.
Around another curve
down,
up,
A cliff comes into view,
I catch a glimpse of the
waters of the creek,
a river of sparkling emeralds.
Solitary, proud flowers burst through the earthy colors,
blushing,
alluring,
popping.
Windows open,
The rushing wind scatters fine sand through my hair,
Tying knots into it.
The sun warms my skin.

Dirt roads
Lead me to
Solitude,
Freedom,
Adventure.
They cleanse my soul and raise my spirits.
Take me to a destination–to my destiny.
Lead me back to myself
I remember
The essence of life,
What is of consequence and what is not.
Driving down dirt roads,
In the heart of the desert,
Veering over the land,
I smile at the simplicity
Laid out around me
I have become the hawk, weightless,

seamlessly drifting through space,
Leaving whispering currents of wind in my wake.