Roam. If you want to. Roam around the world. We’re in Idaho, traveling to Rainbow gathering in Michigan when the unique sound of the B-52s becomes lodged in the music center of my brain.
We had just listened to “Private Idaho,” another B-52s hit, in celebration of crossing into the state. But as we stopped at a store in Cour D’Alene, it was “Roam” that I caught myself singing.
I’m traveling with David and Sylvia, two work traders from my family’s farm. They have become as close and dear to me as any living being can be. They are my family, even if not by blood.
The three of us are joined by Caitee, a student from Tacoma who we just met today. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say she is joined by we three, however, as we would not have gotten very far if she had not connected with us through the Rainbow rideshare.
It’s clear to me, already, that she’s as much a part of my sprawling non-biological family as my work trader soulmates in the backseat.
As if to punctuate this certainty, she takes this moment to firmly declare her love for all of us. A gesture I am moved by all the more when I consider the courage it takes to genuinely declare your love for people who were strangers mere hours before.
Our culture isn’t fond of such openness. We’re taught to be more careful. Careful with our emotions, with our trust, and with our expression.
The amount of love in this car, shared openly in spite of what we’re taught and whatever pains we’ve experienced, is intoxicating. It gives me a great deal of hope for what I’ll experience at the other end of this road trip. It makes me absolutely certain that I made the right choice in coming on this journey.
This will be my first Rainbow gathering. I am terrified. In entering into this adventure, I am making myself vulnerable. I am putting myself at the mercy of not just fate, but other human beings; creatures far more frightening than any abstract idea such as fate.
There’s a lot that could go wrong. But the potential for what could go right makes it worth the risk. Just like Caitee’s open declaration of love to a car filled with new faces, by taking this trip I am opening myself up to whatever may come. To whoever may choose to walk through that open door. I am inviting the wide world into myself, and trusting that I will come out of th eexperience with more love than pain.
It’s a risk. But love, allowing yourself to both give and receive it openly, is always a risk. The best things in life do not come easily. The greater the risk, the more sure you can be that it’s worth the danger. The rewards will only be that much sweeter.
By the time this trip is done, I will know these people –these traveling companions I’ve accepted as my heart’s blood, as my soul’s brethren– infinitely better.
By the time my journey is done, I will know myself better, both through my eyes and through theirs.
So now, as we climb the mountains in an attempt to push through to Missoula, the car passes a sign reading, “Lookout Point.”
And as we cross into Montana, I look toward the future beyond that point, and feel a thrill of excitement rush through me.
I’m still terrified, but that just tells me how glorious what lies ahead will be.