It's not just a road trip. It's not just scenery, a story to tell, a checklist, the rig you have, the gadgets and tech knowledge you possess, and not at all bragging rights online. I can barely write, my eyes are stinging with tears, a smile is tugging at the corners of my mouth. I am not looking at the page as the pencil skims across - am I even on the lines?
This is everything. This is the reason we are here. This is why we breathe. Why we wake. Why we drive on. Why we take it in and don't just capture and share. The beauty of this wild and wonderful place here, nearly at the top of the world...is it.
We came around that curve and took it all in and both, simultaneously, without inhibition and with complete coincidence, allowed ourselves to feel what we saw - and let the tears fall at all of it.
There is nothing - nothing - like the final stretch of road before Alaska. Nothing.
There was a time in my life when it all seemed hopeless. I didn't want to go on, didn't want to breathe. The love for and from my daughter and my wife was all I had, and it was this tiny and threadbare string holding onto me, keeping me from slipping into my circumstance and the darkness surrounding it. I looked at the mess that my life had become and couldn't see past the pain and fear. It seemed impossible to surmount. I couldn't change any of it - the mess of my previous marriage, the healing that needed to take place from it, the car accident, the job loss, the surgeries to remove dangerous cells, the loss of friends and family after coming out. These were just the circumstances. They affected me, but more than that, I'd found myself in a deep and dark place. Afraid to leave the house. Afraid of people. Afraid to live. Afraid of what was coming for me next.
Here, I am not so afraid. Here, I am thankful for my breath. Here, I can gain perspective. Here, I am exactly where I need to be. I could be back in Kentucky, peeking out from behind the window blinds...but instead, I am in Alaska. Breathing in and out. Surrounded by mountains and water and the purest air. This is exactly where I need to be.