There’s just something about driving west on 40 on a Sunday evening, staring into the sunset. Particularly when the woman you love says “Let’s take the backroads home” because you know you’re thinking the same thing. That bright yellow-orange ball in the sky highlighting all of the hidden shadows every tree, every damn blade of grass keeps secret until right before dusk. The low rumble of truck tires on the pavement calm your soul like Buddhist monks chanting Ohm in a faraway temple. Only this is the temple of the Midwest and Ryan Adams is singing To Be Without You out of the radio speakers and you can’t help but feel like you’ve been permitted a glimpse of something that unites us all.
Just for a moment, you get permission to melt into the ether and relax. I mean really relax. The worry over the coming work day, the stress of the week before, it all gets burned away in a shower of radioactive glow. Like the breeze from a child’s whisper sending hundreds of dandelion seeds scattering to the wind. But it’s the end of every stanza from To Be Without You that hangs in the air.
Nothing really matters any more.
And the light of the sol is staring you in the face and you’re surrounded by floods of colors you can only see at one particular time of day and only if you’re driving through the middle of the Bible belt patterned with fields of corn and soy beans. The intensity of it permeates everything whether you’re wearing Ray-Bans or not. A smile grows on your face because somehow, in that instant, you’re convinced that no matter what everything is going to turn out alright.
The clouds of dust kicked up by combines working into the night take on their own special hue. It’s breathtaking and beautiful and heart-stopping. If you ever find yourself waiting for a sign from the Almighty giving you permission to let those salty tears trickle down your face for no good goddamn reason you need only take a trip heading west on a state highway in Indiana toward the shore of the dying light.
Just for a moment, one tiny fraction of a second, there’s nothing left to say or really wonder because nothing really matters any more.