Friday, July 11, 2014

Pilot Car

Driving the sequoia-lined road, beyond Shaver Lake,

Moving up towards Huntington Lake. Mood-calming

Acoustic guitar music pouring from my stereo.

I am on my way to pick up my older daughter,

Working her first job—a dishwasher and prep-cook

At the Boy Scouts camp in the Sierra Nevada

For these few summer weeks, before moving

To college in another state, then a two-year

Mission, perhaps in another country.


I am driving a little beyond the speed limit,

Leaning into the straights and curves, anxious

To get to my daughter who has burned her hand

Picking up a hot pot, when suddenly I am stopped

By an orange road crew in reflective vests

And hard hats. They motion me to slowly drive forward

And follow an orange car with blinking amber light

And a sign on the back: PILOT CAR / FOLLOW ME


The pilot car slowly guides me past road crews

Removing boulders fallen onto the roadway.

He leads and I follow for a quarter mile, then he pulls over

And waves me on with a cautious hand.

I return his wave and give him a grateful smile,

Then step on the gas and speed up the mountain road.