We pull off to stretch our legs. It is two in the morning. I forget my sandals and loose gravel pushes into my feet. I hobble. Carl walks around the truck and presses the tires with his thumbs. He says nothing and puts his hands back in his pockets. David inclines upon the hood looking down at the road.
The night is an art form and we are bristles from paintbrushes, layering the land with our textures and tones. The night, full and open, but vacant, speaks monologues of travelers pushing early hours across unlit roads. They are of high beams. They are of coffee. They are of millions of miles of staggered white lines.
The passenger door is open and I stand on the floor, extending my body above the roof. My elbows are propped upon the metal and I look outward.
The milky way is a heavy cloud. It begins somewhere in northern Arizona and ends somewhere above the great Salt Lake. It is a swimming pool of summer stars. They are all smiling, every single one of them, because they weren’t made to do anything more.
Colorado sits like a giant in the background with sturdy arms around its knees. It sits like sipping something warm and looking east. From Utah and beyond, I think, it is always looking east.
There is no moon so the desert is a meld of unexplainable rock, weed, and soil. There are no street lamps along the highway. There are no sounds until a semi crests, descends, and lumbers into the valley with us.
We know there is a soul inside, but we only see gunmetal and orange light. We only hear combustion and rubber tire tearing up white lines. Our truck rumbles with its passing. A language of sorts.
I suggest the roof, and we climb. We lay upon our backs in t-shirts and shorts to watch the sky. My camera won’t capture the starlight and that’s okay. Even better not to.
God I am scared. The galaxy is linear. I see nothing but black and white. I am too small to see this much.
One day it will be yours again. This hot dirt and human-trod land, this ill-fated empire of tiny people. You will find creation in us again.