Driving is my thinking time.  I don’t ruminate before bed because once I grab onto a string of thought it inevitably leads to a whole tapestry of ideas and perspectives that keep me agitated and alert.  Work worries weave into thoughts of Silas that spin me into tight knots, wide awake.

I can stare into a pitchblack room with my eyes open and searching, or I can use the back of my eyelids to examine my thoughts.  Neither lead to sleep.  Instead, usually, the soft azure glow of my Blackberry’s screen soothes me into slumber as I read about tomorrow’s news.  It’s a trade-off.  I don’t need a headlamp when I read off of that tiny machine, but it doesn’t have the warm texture of aged pages in a used book.

Either way–be it digital or analog–before bed, I read.  It used to be just a habit.  Now it is a tactic and a refuge from the spinning thoughts that pull me awake every night.

Those spinning thoughts are safer to untangle as I drive.  The active motion forward seems to make me think fast and lucid.  I’m already processing the world at eighty miles an hour as other huge machines hurtle by and that makes my internal dialogue rapid and precise.  My mental monkeys piggyback on the velocity of my motion down the road.

Yesterday I left the house fast, grabbing what I needed as I raced out the door.  It was warmer than it has been, but the sun was positioned so that it blasted my eyes through the passenger window, utterly blinding everyone in their cars on that corner of 95 just north of New Haven.  I sailed through on instinct and we all made it on up the road.  But then a sudden pang twanged through my belly.  I was starving.

Dinner the night before had been on the early side and I wasn’t all that hungry, so I didn’t each much.  Now, just shy of noon, hunger was roiling my stomach.  There was a huge gaping emptiness at the center of my belly and suddenly my 80mph brain jumped a divider following a thinly threaded thought and I found myself on the same road I sometimes travel with Silas.

I am hungry for my son, I realized.  The physical hunger for lack of food resonated within that deeply empty place in my soul.  It was like invisible gongs clanging through my belly or like a swallowed Ohmm that went stale and burpy.  It felt like the inside of me was attached to the most endless place in the entire Universe.  It was hunger, but it was my soul’s hunger in a way I have never ever felt before.

I wanted to devour the sight and scents and sounds of Silas every day as he grew.  I wanted to fill myself all the way up with his new life and new perspective on our World.  His life was going to be a feast for my heart and my spirit.

I drove on, the sobbing subsided, the physical hunger slowly slipped away, and the sun slid higher into the sky.  My eyes flickered from mirror to mirror and then out the windshield in front of me.

But it could have been that blackened room before sleep.  It could have been the insides of my eyelids.  My sight took in the 80mph road and the cars around me, but my gaze was focused deep within.

There is a knot in my thoughts that no fingers can untie.  A part of me will always be starving without him.  Somehow I have to deal with that longing as it grows tighter and deeper and more fundamental to my being.

Words seem to help me.  The ones I read and the ones I write.  Digital or analog, spoken or written.  The words of my wife and my friends, old and new, and of my family that is essential to my life, their words and their actions help me heal and become whole.

We are wounded but we move because what’s coming must be better than what we’ve got today.  Sometimes I’m amazed that I’m up and about in the world, but there’s nothing else I can do.  Forward is the only choice, even if I’m starving and tangled every step of the way.

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