Not long ago, I found myself in a VW dealership waiting for a headlight bulb to be replaced. I had to make an appointment for this job that I thought, at first, I could do myself. I mean, how many Aggies does it take to replace a lightbulb anyway? Right?

I could see it. I could touch it with the tips of two fingers. Alas – I could not grab it. I tried it all: yoga, meditation, Vaseline. It even crossed my mind to give up drinking. That’s when I called the dealership for help. After all, dealing with a car dealership is the next worse thing to giving up alcohol.

So, I am waiting for this “job” to be done and as usual I have brought along a book of poems to strengthen my hold on reality. It’s an anthology edited by a guy upon whom I place some respect.

The first poet I read is dying quite dramatically in a frozen pond, while another, according to his bio. in the back of the book, teaches at an unknown college somewhere in Middle America and is, if my math is correct, in his 50’s and still wages daily warfare with his long departed father. Another contributor is trying to make sense of his existential dilemma, which is waiting far too long for his lunch in a roadside diner. He is convinced that the cooks are talking about him. I think he’s right.

I put my book down and look around the room. There is an even half dozen of us waiting for our fine German automobiles to be serviced. We are variously engaged. A couple of the group are reading. One is punching a hand-held device vigorously, another is soundly sleeping and there is this guy in a suit sitting with his back to the corner working on a computer with a business-like passion. Impressive. But his glasses reveal his hypocrisy in the reflection of his game of solitaire.

We are seated around this boring twelve foot rug that is held in place by our feet. It’s mostly red. There are 14 ( by actual count ) different geometrical designs in it, which, I am certain are of Bavarian origin. It is not a “message” piece as in Navaho rugs, and seems to be completely meaningless, unless you can find comfort in angles, lines, circles and arcs. It is at this point that I realize I am the only person in the room who seems to be aware of the rug. I guess it worked – at least on me.

I was surprised when the service manager called my name. So soon, I asked? He smiled. Easy, he said. Easy for you, I said. As I turned to leave, I asked, did you have to use Vaseline?

When I was younger, it seems that I was always driving a long distance to somewhere. It seemed to be a part of life – not an optional selection. Gas was cheap and the economy seemed to be more realistic. Didn’t have anything then, but it didn’t seem as bad as not having anything now. I’m not sure that makes sense but there seems to be a rhyme in there just the same.

Just now, CA and I have been on a journey to see family in Pennsylvania and Florida. Interesting weather delays have intervened and it’s been cold. It’s highly likely that we won’t attempt such an adventure at this time of year again. You live and then you learn.

We are near the end of the trip down south and are enjoying the dramatic change in the countryside. We saw open water today. There were boats floating on water! The contrast from driving along the Susquehanna river yesterday with jumbled ice as far as the eye could see so open water with actual boats floating on it was instructive about how a few miles can make a huge difference in climate.

We saw palm trees and Spanish moss hanging on trees. Sorry, no alligators – yet. I am sure they are there lurking in the muddy depths of those creeks and rivers we crossed today.

I have to say that the Blue Ridge range in Virginia is one of the more spectacular sights you can see. There’s a place coming down a long decline that you can see forever over the eastern slope in a majestic vista no Hudson Valley artist ever captured. Breathtaking.

Our plan is to drive its length in the spring on our return hone. I have already been chided by someone about not sending photos. Well, I am trying to get down here. I will consider photos soon enough.

Stay tuned.