Monday, August 21, 2006

Driving to Monument Valley

Back tonight from a refreshing jaunt to Monument Valley for the Netflix/Alamo Rolling Roadshow screening of The Searchers. Stepping onto the tarmac in Durango, Colorado - the sun hot but the air a sweeter cool blast from homebase Austin. Delicious just breathing. I join John and his brother-in-law, already en route on beautiful roads long familiar from our earlier traveling days. Monument Valley exquisite - red, grand, still. Crazy, frankly that it's more visited by Germans and French than Americans. We run into friends, some Austin based, some Dallas, some Marfa and beyond. Film lovers all, traveling to this mecca. (John and I disagreed recently over whether our vacations always had something to do with film. I maintain that driving to the location of John Ford's westerns a case in point. It's America but the mythology is all film.) The Rolling Roadshow presentation is exquisite. A gorgeous screening under the star-filled night. I don't know why this movie moves others so but I can't imagine a better way to see it.

Day 2, John and I drop our companion at the Greyhound Bus Station in Flagstaff, and continue on our way to Show Low, via the Petrifid Desert. It's just John and me, driving around the Southwest. I get an intense craving for wheat thins. He's already picked up a box yesterday. And it's all we need. I remember our first trip 24 years ago. My first road trip with a boyfriend. My first trip outside the NY, New England, California coast axis. My head blown open by the vast sky and long straight roads. We drove around Colorado and the Four Corners area for years. Then children intervened, but more damaging, a tiff with one of the Telluride Film Festival directors, and we stopped. All these years later, it's a sweet return. Not only to the vistas beloved, but to the essence - John and me driving around, exploring the landscape, sharing a box of wheat thins.

I always tell couples - do something stressful before you marry. Weather a crisis, because that'll be your guide. It's how you manuever through change that determines your longevity. This trip isn't about stress though, this trip reminds me of the resting place, the ties that bind underneath. Andy H. said, it's not that you and John were both into film that drew you together, it's what made you both seek out film in the first place - that's what you share.

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