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.