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Saturday, October 02, 2010

Driving at Night

We don't drive at night in Uganda, at least not if we can help it.  In a place where bandits still roam, where vehicles are ambushed in the darkness, it's not wise.  Not to mention no street lights, and pretty rough conditions even in full daylight.  But in the USA, following in our family's footsteps from our own childhood, we've been known to pull driving all-nighters.  Our plane from California landed in Chicago on Thursday evening at 8:30 pm, where we had left our borrowed car.  Dear friends who have bent over backwards to care for us there met us at the airport with the car, and though we were sorely tempted to go back home with them and have good food and great talks and comfy beds, we knew we needed to be far east by mid-Friday.  So we were on the road by about 9:30 pm, spurts of speed and clots of traffic, as we passed through the fairy lights of downtown Chicago, twinkling windows and powerful strobes, vibrant in the night sky.  And then on to Indiana, and slant-ways down through Ohio, to West Virginia.  About 600 miles, almost 12 hours, 2-lane roads and 8-line interstates, tractor trailers and not much else.  Scott and I traded off driving, and Jack and Julia slept hunched any-which-way in the back seat, no pillows or blankets.  

I took the midnight to 3-something shift.  And rediscovered the beauty of the night drive.  Quiet.  No radio, no ambient noise other than an occasional sleep-talk from Julia, or sigh from sleeping Scott.  My family in my hands, resting, dependent on my alertness and care, but temporarily oblivious.  Praying.  Thinking, uninterrupted.  The world dormant around us, deserted-looking farms, dimly lit closed gas stations and shops.  My faithful gps companion occasionally advising an exit or a turn, one glowing light in the dark world.  In the constant-presence of visiting and constant-something-to-do of moving from place to place, I appreciated the forced immobility, one seat, strapped in, alone. One way, ahead.  A spectacular half-moon accompanying me ahead to the left as I zig-zagged southeast through rural flat states.  

Reluctantly I woke Scott at 3:30, realizing it was actually now 4:30 in the new East Coast time zone, feeling my attention beginning to strain. It was time for a few hours of rest before the sun rose.  I had forgotten how possible, and relaxing it is, to be awake when everyone else is asleep, except God.

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