Saturday, July 14, 2012

“I Dream a Highway”

For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamed highways—highways to real places, highways to imaginary ones; highways that moved fluidly thru time & space—into the future, into the past; highways to people, highways to nowhere.

We live in time—it’s our element. Place, yes, too—so crucial—but above all time. We live in past & future & present at all times concurrently, & in living in those times that are all “present” & also all “absent,” we build highways out of longing. I long for times & places & people. I’ve always been a person beset with longing—I realize I’m not unique in this.

As the years have passed, the fierce passions associated with longing have mellowed, its true—the fruit of the late summer: September song. The longing now more often than not comes either as melancholy or gratitude. As I’m melancholic by nature, this is the baseline—but I can get to that other place, too.

Dreaming highways—no one sings about this better than the incomparable Gillian Welch.


  1. Great post, John! And thanks for starting my day with Gillian.

  2. Your words about highways and time touched me deeply.

  3. I love Gillian Welch's music; thank you for posting this song. When I was younger and things weren't going so well, I'd be driving along and a highway would cross my path and the possibility of just getting on that highway and driving on it – wherever it led, and not coming back – was almost overwhelming. I had forgotten about that feeling.

    1. Hi eArnie: Yes, I know that feeling all too well. Glad you enjoyed the post--thanks!


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