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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Night drive to Spokane

An eighth of an inch of mottled ice fused to the windshield. The scraper was a mere toy scratching at the glass in the dark while the car warmed. In gear, the tires whined that the roads were ice too, not a pinch of salt to grip. I tried not to think last thoughts, not to imagine family receiving news, as the drive began, glacially paced, into deeper night, away from the sunrise advancing from the east. Traffic crawled like a funeral procession past two transfer trailers on their backs in the snowy ditch. Braking was a thrill without joy. My car slid across the highway as I willed white hands not to steer too sharply, drubbed the pedal to simulate anti-lock. But slowly and inevitably, daylight overtook the traffic, the road, the ice. The car climbed Lookout Pass, steadfast, lucky, into a paradise of white trees, dry roads, and a safe and narrow passage to the airport where an airplane would whisk me aloft, no traction or personal effort needed. The adrenaline dropped from my bloodstream and I noticed a sweat of relief at my collar. I was going to make it home today.

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