DAY 25 – FLAGSTAFF, AZ
I am haunted by the pines. I have been for months, long before we got here. I have begun to turn over all the events in my head, to think about them as a whole. The weather is cold up here tonight. I’m staring at the Milky Way, laying on the roof of the trusty Civic. I don’t know what it is about Flagstaff. It’s not a place that’s raved about in magazines or overrun by euro-trash, or charges out the asshole for every last good and/or service. But it’s one of my favorite places. I thought it fitting that the trip end here, the only place on the itinerary that both Josh and I have been to, a place just 2 hours from home, a place just as beautiful as any other.
The last few days of the trip Josh has been trying to find a way to get back home a day early, trying to get out of staying the last day in Flagstaff. I refused to change the itinerary, this was what we both signed up for and I’ll damned after 25 days we would give up and cut it short now. He complained and hung his head etc but I didn’t really give a fuck. Love him to death but I gotta go all the way through with this. And yeah we ended up sleeping in the car again, but it was under the Milky Way, just like that first night in Marfa. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending. I won’t say that this trip coming to an end hasn’t been difficult, it has, but I won’t really talk about it, if you ask I’ll let it roll, until the conversation is in another place. Scrolling through Instagram I begin to realize the breadth of what we have done, the sheer audacity needed to pull this thing off is kind of admirable in itself.
I am haunted by the pines. I’m still not sure why. What it is about these stoic ponderosa pines? Maybe their form, their alignment, their color. The way that my headlights make them look at night, the way they smell. Or is it me? Am I evoking a certain response? Is what I bring to the pines a certain Byronic romanticism that alters the perception of the viewer and the viewed? I’m probably just some sick dreamer full of himself, but that being said I’m also full of the possibilities of this life. Glossy eyed I stare at the sky for over an hour, piss over a ledge, become angry with myself, enter peaceful acceptance, laugh at the stars, shake from the cold. I try to grab ahold of a comfortable image to lull me to sleep and I realize I hate my home, it was an interesting night. Or I could say I didn’t sleep very well, whatever.
I watched the sun rise over the mountains, it took a while, but I waited, and waited. I snapped a picture. We had driven in the dark to the entrance of Humphreys Trail, and parked in the Snowbowl parking lot to sleep and have unabated views of the sky at night. As we drove back down in the dawn’s early light, I took some video of the pines, knowing at some point I would need the footage. As a compromise we left Flagstaff early as fuck, but not before we stopped over at Macy’s coffeehouse to grab some coffee and, well, some delicious giant quiche. I love that place, fantastic coffee and a great milieu. After that we hit the road and I was gradually overcome by a sense of dread. The closer we got to home the more depressed I became until, we were here. It was as if I never left, in fact it was like I had never lived here in the first place. Welcome home.