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Bobbie Jo Morrell is a mountain woman, poet, writer, leathercrafter, rustic furniture builder, cat owner, technical writer, website designer. She says, “Colorado’s Front Range, with the smell of pine trees in the cool air of morning, is my home.” Her blog address: http://soulscompass.blogspot.com/.

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deeper warrior 7Deeper Warrior Chapter 7: Escape from New York

Four days I floated up and down Manhattan, a solitary bright blue ski jacket awash in a sea of dark wool trench coats. So many people, so serious, and so good at ignoring one another. I tried to control my bumpkin-like gaping at the immensely tall walls of the concrete and steel skyscraper canyons, the weirdness of elevators that only went to certain floors.

Christine was still working at her temp job on the 42nd floor of a building on Lexington Avenue. She was up and away before I stirred in the morning, so when I got up I walked alone to the station to take the train with other commuters down Long Island, under East River and up into Penn Station. There I would pick up the subway that went where I wanted to start my day, anxiously watch for the right station to get off and keep a sharp eye on the multitudes of people around me.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art and an entire day of gazing at famous paintings, sculptures, and other works. Midday I took a nap while sitting on a bench surrounded by Greek statues. Another day at the Museum of Natural History. Another day to the Empire State Building, where I saw a purse snatcher, then Wall Street, then the World Trade Towers, then the Staten Island Ferry past Lady Liberty.

I always ate lunch on the street, from carts and little trucks selling pretzels, souvlaki (Greek meat on a stick), crispy eggrolls, or knish with mustard, accompanied by a can of soda, sipped through a straw.

Then, thoroughly saturated with city sights and ethnic food, I flowed with commuters to Penn Station to meet Chris and ride the rails with her back to her parents’ home.

On Thursday night the weather forecast forced a change of traveling plans. A big snowstorm was plowing across the midwest and our original departure time would have set us against it in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Deeming it wiser to hit the snow in the plains of Ohio, we got up and packed into the Pinto at 2 o’clock Friday morning.

We decided to drive straight through—about 24 hours—trading off driving duty and stuffing ourselves full of caffeine in various forms. As predicted, heavy snow in Ohio kept traffic down to a tiresome 25 miles an hour on the interstate and we didn’t reach the Chicago area until night had fallen.

My nerves jangled as I sped down the highway through the southern suburbs of Chicago. The roads were clear, a relief after the snow, but suddenly we fishtailed then spun donuts across three lanes, finally coming to an abrupt halt in the median. A guardrail stood about twenty yard behind the car, and I instantly realized that if the Pinto had smashed into it rear end first, there could have easily been an explosion. But amazingly we were alive, unhurt and right-side up.

Adrenaline on top of the caffeine made my head buzz almost audibly and I tried immediately to start the car again. Chris grabbed my arm. “Let’s wait a few minutes till we calm down.”

I took a deep breath, very glad I was with Christine. After all, she was a christian and God takes care of his own. I probably would have been toast otherwise.

Well, the Pinto started right up and we drove out of the median. But we decided to seek shelter for the night rather than continue in our fried state.

Chris’ aunt and uncle lived on a farm not far from our little accident, so we dropped in on them at about 11 at night. They gladly took us in. I was completely exhausted, fried by caffeine overdose, and hallucinating: a fully lit nuclear power plant was glowing across their cornfields. Well, I thought I was hallucinating—the nuclear power plant was still there next morning.

More kind hospitality, good rest and good food, then Christine and I finally made it back to Ash House.

I settled into my new, strange room with a head full of new, strange thoughts, images, questions, feelings—all whirling around like a Pinto on ice.

I quickly resumed my habit of heavy drinking.

story by bobbie jo morrell, all rights reserved

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