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Thursday, July 9, 2009

From Covina to Los Cruces

As I am writing this, it is dark outside of the car; which, I am told by the natives, is customary at 11:00 at night, even in this strange land of Arizona. The night sky is brushed with silky clouds and ruled by one of the brightest moons I have ever seen. We are listening to a Five Iron Frenzy Concert CD (Proof that the Youth are Revolting, if you really want to know…much love to Five Iron). It makes good driving music. Ska is good stuff.
So here is the road trip so far: We were supposed to leave our house at four in the morning, but what with packing, and our human desire for sleep, we didn’t leave until 9 AM. It was an emotional departure: you see, my Sister will be living out in Virginia for at least another year, and we probably won’t see her again until right before she comes home. For my Mother (and Father), then, this morning was goodbye for a year: Javi and I still have a couple more weeks during this road trip.
And so, after much embracing and prayer, we were off. We’re taking the 10 all the way to New Orleans. Yes, the very same 10 freeway that goes about our
So-Cal environs., the very same 10 that runs so close by my very own home, the home where I was born, and have lived for the past 17 years. I am reminded very much of Bilbo’s words to Frodo: “Do you know, this road that runs out of your front door is the very road that leads to the Misty Mountains?” or something like that.
Soon, this familiar, fantastic road took us past enormous fields of shiny windmills. I tried very hard to keep myself from believing that they were really giants- and failed. They must be giants, and though I earnestly desired to attack the giants, I was sore outnumbered. And so I left the windmills, vowing to return one day with the courage of Don Quixote.
I looked down at my iPod for a while, searching for the right tracks, and when I looked up I found that we had entered the bona fide desert (that is the word for an arid, god-forsaken place, right? Not the cakes and pies one?). Shortly, our entrance into Arizona was heralded by a large sign, a truck weighing station, and the gradual appearance of stereotypical cactuses, as opposed to the scraggly variety we know in California.
We had only been in Arizona for a few minutes when we pulled off the ten into am enormous gas station that featured it’s own restaurant, in addition to a convenience store and a video game lounge (i.e., three decrepit machines, only two of which worked, stuck into a recess in the wall). For all that, it was a welcome sight- I’m beginning to develop an affinity for these roadside hole-in-the-walls. After loading up on gas, iced tea and Dr. Pepper, I took the wheel for my first leg of the journey. My hour-and-a-half-or-so of driving was more or less uneventful- a steady 80 mph, for the most spart, only 5 above the limit. Also, you shall all be glad to know, my cop-a-vision was fully functioning (I think cop-a-vision is pretty much self-explanatory).
And right now, I must interrupt the narrative to inform you that I have just seen something really cool- a giant patch of silver cloud, stitched upon the deepest shade of blue. At the edges, the cloud is breaking off, sending hundreds of small, fish-scale clouds out onto the firmament. And right in the center, like an enormous, luminescent pearl in the middle of a silver broach, the moon. I love the open road.
Okay, back to earlier today: When Ivette relieved me of my driving duties, I rode shotgun while Javi chilled out in the back. We passed through Phoenix, which struck me as a very nice and sensible, though arbitrary, little city- I am very glad not to have blinked and missed it all.
After a relatively uneventful few hours, a slight detour to find a decent restroom, we found ourselves following Mike’s directions to his house on the outskirts of Tucson. His sister Nancy, her husband and two talkative little girls met us as we got out of the car, while Mike was off at Panda Express picking up dinner.
These days, it seems like everyone deals with a certain amount of brokenness in their family, and extended family tends to drift apart. Because of this, I am so grateful when I am able to connect with my extended family. Maybe it’s just our nature as last-minute Mexicans, but I love the fact that, for the most part, family loyalty runs deep. We had just called last minute, intending to see the family if we could. This was enough to set Mike to open up his home to us, for dinner, for the night, or whatever we needed. He bought one order of everything they make at Panda Express, and more of the popular items. In Javi’s words, he killed the fattened Panda. I love that, the amazing sense of familial loyalty. I hope I can learn to love my family like that- and not only my biological family, but also my Christian family.
Mike’s other sister Jemimah (yes, like the syrup) joined us for a while, but soon it was just Mike, Ivette, Javi, and I sitting around the table, picking at orange chicken and sharing conversation. Mike is in the Army National Guard, and has spent tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile a thunderstorm came and went, lashing the outdoors with wind and rain, we talked about the war, about politics, ministry, the family, and following Christ. After praying together, we left, so very blessed by our cousins generosity: our stomachs were full of his food, our cooler full of his ice, leftover Chinese food and soda, our electrical devices charged with his electricity. With these gifts of love, we left.
Well, that’s it…I am now caught up to where I started. I interrupt myself again for another cool cloud: the darkest sable against the inky midnight sky, it’s dramatic “silver lining” declaring it’s imposing presence upon us. We are chasing the storm that passed over us in Tucson- I keep on catching the lighting in the corner of my eye- distant shafts of light splitting the sky for a moment.
It is now 1 AM, and the roads are nearly empty. I’ve been breaking off my writing in order to nap a bit. We just finished the FIF concerts, and have switched to Reik: solid Mexican soft rock.
Now it is almost 2 AM, and we’re about 30 minutes away from our resting place. We’re going to stop soon for gas and a leg-stretching- if one ever pops up. Well, that’s it for now folks…

Go Under the Mercy

-Jonathan Adriel Diaz

3 comments:

mkr mouse said...

what a wonderful post! Your family truly sounds like a blessing. :)

Lizzy said...

Keep up the blogging during your road trip Jonathan! I feel like I'm right there with you, listening to Five Iron Frenzy in the arid reds and oranges of Arizona :)

Sir Claviger said...

A good read :) Do keep us updated on your activities if the time comes again.