Interstate 15

Katherine - Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Entered on February 3, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in Interstate 15, a Western highway. This freeway starts at the Canada-US border in Montana and dies out near San Diego. The interstate is a gradient of seasons; bitter winter in the North and endless summer in the South. Each point along the way is something new to behold.

I have experienced the eleven hour drive between the Idaho falls and Utah’s Zion National Park. A silver station wagon cruises down the hot tar, no concern of the time continuum. I sit in silence, inching away from the sunlight threatening a trucker’s tan. Most land around us is barren and cruel. There is little of interest beyond the dust devils and sagebrush that dot the dry landscape. I find a solace nonexistent at home, watching exits fly by and sifting through passing thoughts, much like the looming mountains on the horizon.

I believe in a change of scenery, leaving the front porch and getting out of town. I believe in chasing sunsets at seventy-five mph. The matter isn’t where I’m from or where I want to end up, I’m going somewhere and isn’t that enough? Traveling is my rebellion, refusal to be content with only what I already know.

Interstate 15 is a time line linking lives. The unchanging trail is always absorbing the same light from the same hostile sun. But on this same road, a businesswoman beeps furiously at the traffic in Vegas while 500 miles away, the interstate cuts through a farmer’s fields. There is a comfort to be found in this, an understanding both unbiased and naturally honest. Was this place so different ten years ago, or 50? Does our lamentable asphalt impact something so untouchable by humanity? My life is put into perspective; time will heal all wounds and so my success and failure means little. When everything is said and done, nothing I could have accomplished will outshine Interstate 15, infinite and great.

When I am in the backseat of that silver station wagon, licensed under my Utah-citizen grandfather, exploring the dusty West, I can hardly believe I belong in the East. Interstate 15 is my escape, my mental retreat from homesickness into memory, but accompanied by bittersweet nostalgia.

I believe that whatever happens, I will find someplace worth being. I live everyday hoping that I am closer to my nirvana. I want to absorb everything, comprehend what is going on around me, and try to appreciate what I love most. What can I worry about in the end? The petty steps of humanity will never compare to the natural world, what was here before us. We are not going to last forever. I am too selfish, too naive, too young to understand the pure essence of life. But I believe the one place I call my home, without constraints or expectations, will be found on Interstate 15, a Western highway.