I looked up at the moon last night as I flew along a snowy Montana highway, and it looked cold.
A lonely, haunting shade of cold.
I’ve spent the past three days roadtripping through The Coldest States and it has been a sick-fogged, fever-fueled blur of miles -– 2,175 miles, to be exact.
There wasn’t a single shutter click along the way and I don’t feel as though I remember much,
But I do remember that icicle-draped slice of moon and the way my heart skipped a beat when I crossed into my wild soul-sister state of Montana.
I remember a mouse running over the toe of my boot at a gas station in Butte,
slipping into a tub of steaming water somewhere in Missoula,
and chatting with a grad student from Uzbekistan as he gave me a tour of his AirBnB in Fargo, although I’ve no recollection of our conversation.
I remember the moment I discovered that -20 feels like a hug from an octopus with tentacles made of razor blades,
and, before handing it over to the hotel clerk, typing a note into my phone explaining that my voice had croaked out its last word 12 hours prior and could I please have a room?
I remember watching the person next to me get arrested as I pumped gas in Bozeman and wishing, for his sake, that he could’ve gotten arrested on a 75-degree day rather than a fiercely cruel -17-degree night.
I remember the stoicism of the Badlands blanketed in white and the way the Dakota wind chased snow in teasing circles around the highway,
swirling and dancing and erasing as if creating a mystical path carpeted with snowflakes custom created by a perpetually dissatisfied artist who then tosses it all away to begin anew.
The slightly sway-backed shed wearing a particular shade of red and its perch in a dip and a hollow between snow-blanketed hills whose lack of symmetry were dizzying to my fever-hazed head,
and the skeleton tree that was positioned so absolutely perfectly in the foreground of the shed that I was certain it was planted by an artist, although on second thought I’m sure it was not.
I remember staring at that shed and it’s perfectly-aligned tree and particular shade of red and starting to pull over to capture it with my camera, and then remembering that I was on a highway and endeavoring to take a mental picture instead.
2,175 miles and not a single shutter click,
but perhaps I remember quite a bit after all.