Eleven Miles from Somewhere

Yesterday morning, on my drive home from the store where I had just purchased the week’s food and other household supplies, I was looking at the neighborhoods I passed and at the smoke and steam coming from roof-top chimneys and vent pipes.  I also caught sight, through and beyond the clouds, of parts and pieces of the white and enormous mountains that line our eastern horizon.  It was and is still amazing and weird and wonderful to find myself in this place in the middle hours of this last day of the year, in a place so new and strange and removed from where I was last year.  As I drove those snow-lined streets back to our neighborhood proper, I happened to notice a mile-marker sign that was posted along the road.  It said “Mile 11.”  Now, I am familiar with state highways and roads that leave their freeway confines and become or pass along the same route as a city street, like US Highway 60 in Arizona that becomes or passes-along on Grand Avenue, bisecting the Valley of the Sun to take travelers on their way to Wickenburg or beyond, and I know of US Highway 89 that takes us from Flagstaff to Page, and to Kanab and Panguitch, and then marks a parallel course to I-15 as it leads north to Provo and Salt Lake, eventually becoming State Street that runs the central length of our city, but I was not familiar with any such state route or US highway that had turned into 700 East as it made its course through the city.

Seeing the sign made me wonder about the eleven miles that had passed on the other side of that mile marker and how many other miles existed in the opposite and other direction, whatever and whichever way that actually was.  It struck me as odd, too, and maybe allegorical even, in the processing of what yesterday was and what today is in the marking of time in a year and this present time or era or segment of my life and my family’s lives in this time of crazy and dramatic change.  We’ve come to this station and place in our lives, taken such drastic steps to find ourselves in a new state and locale, and work and living and natural environment and our heads and hearts and sometimes emotions are spinning and wondering and looking for something familiar to grasp and hold-on to as we attempt to regain our balance and direction.  And here we are then, eleven miles from somewhere, remembering and thinking about the past and wondering about the future, holding-on to each other, leaning against one another in our little relocated family, awaiting the arrival of others and missing those who won’t or cannot join us…and our friends, of course, we remember and miss them too, those precious ones who, even from outside the circle of our family and intimates, loved us and brought us joy and companionship for the past twenty years and more.

So it’s not only us, but you, too, and then, who on this first day of a new year are eleven miles from somewhere.  Where are you going, what are you doing, how are you, and we, too, going to measure this year when it’s gone, like we’ve done to the one that is just passed and passing?

10 responses

  1. Getting ready to go back to work after a two week break and I found myself in a bit of a frenetic spiral. Still too much I want to do before Monday comes, yet even more that I have to do to be prepared to step back into my classroom. Little was being accomplished so I decided to just sit and read. I stumbled across your blog and have decided to sit here, eleven miles from somewhere, for just a little while to give thought about how this new year will be measured.

    Your writing is wonderful. Thanks for sharing it.

    January 1, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    • Thank you, Tanner, for stopping-by, leaving a note in your passing…and for your very kind words. Good luck with Monday. 🙂

      January 1, 2011 at 8:56 pm

  2. Lori

    Really beautiful

    January 2, 2011 at 12:08 am

    • Thank you, Lori Kim.

      January 2, 2011 at 7:38 am

  3. Becky

    Brought tears to my eyes…truly beautiful words, Scott!

    January 2, 2011 at 10:35 am

    • Thank you, Becky.

      January 2, 2011 at 12:36 pm

  4. byronhj

    Your most beautiful writing makes me hope I can do more this year than in years past.

    Thanks again for sharing it my friend


    January 4, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    • I share your thoughts, my friend. You are most welcome…and thank you, as always, for visiting. I hope you’re doing well down there with your desert and snow-capped cacti. 🙂

      January 4, 2011 at 10:30 pm

  5. Jason Martin

    Thumbs up my friend 🙂

    January 6, 2011 at 10:04 am

    • Thank you, Jay. 🙂

      January 6, 2011 at 10:17 am

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