Friday, July 11, 2014

Pilot Car

We are driving up the sequoia-lined road,
beyond Shaver Lake, climbing towards Huntington Lake,
mood-calming acoustic music pouring from the stereo.
I am sending my older daughter to her first job
as a dishwasher and prep-cook
at the Boy Scouts camp in the Sierra Nevada
for these few summer months, before she goes
to college in another state, then on
to a two-year mission, perhaps in another country.

I am driving at the speed limit, maintaining
speed on the straight-ways, relaxing
on the curves, when suddenly I am stopped
by an orange road crew in reflective vests
and hard hats. They motion me to slowly move forward
and follow an orange car with blinking amber roof 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 distractedly return his wave, already facing forward,
and step on the gas to make up for lost time.

My daughter and I get to the trail-head
that leads to the camp just in time.
Other workers are already on an ATV truck,
my daughter the last one to climb aboard.
I lift her duffel bags onto the cargo bed
and turn to say goodbye, but
she has already turned to face the front
as the ATV starts forward
and disappears into the wooded trail.

No comments: