Spring Break 2017, Part One: “What’d I Miss?”

Virginia, my home sweet home, I wanna give you a kiss.

It’s quite strange being back in my old town. I’m not sure what feels more foreign–the streets, buildings, faces I pass, or simply the matter of my being here. I’m minding a friend’s loft for the week; her cat recognized me when I walked in, but so far she’s the only creature to do so. I feel entirely out of place here, perhaps even more so than I do out west, but I did just spend the past thirteen hours in my car, besting my personal records for crossing state lines, and becoming more and more stale along the way. So we’ll wait and see how I feel tomorrow and during the rest of the week before putting forth any diagnosis.

I was in the mountains in West Virginia when the sun set tonight. The road was unusually empty; I was able to pull over and take a picture. The sight of it made me think of T. S. Eliot:

“Let us go then, you and I…” I suppose it does look a little etherized.

Coming down I-81 into Virginia, I was surprised by how many large crosses were planted in the hillsides. I’d known of one such site beforehand, as my family would pass it on our weekend grocery store trips when we still lived here. Three tall, white crosses on a hill overlooking the interstate. I wasn’t able to get a picture of that, but I did get a shot of one of the newer crosses — or, at least, one that was new to me:

Forgive the blurriness. I’m really no good at this. But all of these crosses reminded me of D. H. Lawrence’s Twilight in Italy; the opening essay where he catalogues all the crucifixes he finds along his walking path. Funny — before reading that, I’d never thought anything of those crosses in Virginia, other than how ominous they looked. But just the contrast between the three simple white ones and the large purple industrial piping one (which looks more red than anything else in that picture) is astonishing. They were barely ten minutes apart on the road. It does the same kind of universality-dismantling that Lawrence does in cataloging the crucifixes. I must revisit this at a later date.

Tomorrow I’m walking to church and then to the campus arboretum to read Lawrence’s Women in Love. Goodnight all.


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