The first road trip I remember as a child was in 1962 when I was 4. My mother packed us four girls along with the dog, into our Borgward station wagon, and set off for the island of Corfu in Greece.
The trip would take several days, we carried food and slept in the car. Our path took us through Yugoslavia, which at that time was a totalitarian state with a communist government. Many roads were unpaved and cars were few.
As we were coming though the heavily wooded countryside, a young boy tending cows got excited by the sound of an approaching car and ran towards the road to spectate. His cows innocently trotted after him, right up to the road and to our horror, right into our oncoming path. The unavoidable impact badly bruised one cow and took out both our headlights.
I remember the shock and confusion on the poor boys face and my mothers rage with the lamentable and unsolvable situation. She briefly spoke with some approaching men, but given language barriers and the predicament that Yugoslavian authorities might not be on the side of a single nomadic woman with four daughters, she decided to hightail it for the Greek border.
And yes, three hours of that journey were made in the dark with no headlights by finding and following a vehicle ahead of us.
Sometimes when I’m painting, I come around a metaphorical curve unsure of an impending impact. There’s a moment of adrenaline, a loss of control, a state of being fully in the moment. The difference, thankfully, is that I’m not in the back of a car bracing to bruise a cow. The difference is that I can breathe out …slowly…and awaken to new perspective and new possibilities.