A Note On Highway 2

Driving home Highway 2 at between 121 and 130 kmh, the sun starting its dip down in the west, Lyle Lovett on the car stereo, clouds shuttling across the sky -- what a time. It's two hours and 25 or 30 minutes of waiting for thoughts to arrive at between 121 and 130 kmh.

The lanes remind me of lines in a measure of written sheet music, the sports cars, sedans, pickups hauling trailers, semi-trailers the various lengths and kinds and vintages of notes. A silent music moving in both directions. A collision involving a horse trailer near Didsbury in the Calgary-bound lanes stalls traffic. Four bar rests.

Some of the notes are packed with meaning not immediately discernible to the first time listener.

Lovett is singing South Texas Girl. It is a powerful song, and it's about everything. It's a prayer for travellers, a memory of childhood, a tribute to faded cowboy voices, it's a meditation on the passage of time, and it's pure poetry. And it all seems to fit the sensation of driving Highway 2: flying home like a 1/32 note in one direction, moving forward, making time, while at the same time watching vehicles go the other way, seeing a hill recede in the rearview mirror, thinking about what has gone past.

Lovett is honest. The past gets created in the present. I sing along:
Three in the front seat, they sat on each side/
That green-and-white '58 Fairline it would glide/
Down farm roads, past open fields/
Seeming like no big deal/
When it was happening/
I never felt a thing.
But now looking back, it seems like it was everything.
The big questions present themselves on Highway 2. Where does time go? And the big answers seem to be there for an instant, but, they, too, exist in time.

Lovett's logic takes hold, and it all seems possible at that time. The answer isn't to figure out where time goes. It is to laugh if you can speak. Run if you're walking away. Sing if you mention my name.

That makes sense when you are in, when you are a note on Highway 2.


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