I wonder if I could hear a hum of wind and energy if I rolled my window down.
The silent beauty of towering white windmills dot the landscape and are the only attraction on the horizon as a setting sun dances with reds, pinks, and oranges across the sky.
Are these mammoth structures even called windmills, if there is nothing for them to mill?
Is the proper term, wind turbine?
Their solid white blades cut through the air.
I’ve grown used to them on this drive, but every time I rumble down I-40, more seem to pop up into existence.
Yet, I rarely see one being built.
They seem to just suddenly appear, multiplying, as if alive.
* * * * *
I pull off the highway at the main Clinton exit.
A sign for the elusive Taco Mayo caught my attention, and I pull into the empty parking lot. It’s difficult to tell if the fast food Mexican joint is open, but I spot an employee leaning against the building sucking on a cigarette.
It must be open.
I pulled my car around the drive-thru and ordered my old favorite from my college freshman days, the #1, a grilled chicken burrito, spiced tater tots that are known as Potato Locos, and a large Coke.
Upon receiving my meal, I putted over to the nearest gas stations, which was located about a quarter of a mile from the highway.
As I filled up with the cheapest gas option, I noticed how old-fashioned and nostalgic the building was. It was retro. A combination new gas station with an attached Coney Island. The outside of the building was nearly all chrome-plated, reminiscent of an old Chrysler or some other American Graffiti-esque automobile.
On my way back to my car after a quick pitstop inside, I saw a familiar sign for the Route 66 Museum.
The familiar building brought back a flood of memories.
I climbed back into my car to drive away.
* * * * *
In the dark, the only thing visible aside from the immediate roadway are the blinking red lights atop the white, towering windmills.
There’s something almost alien about how they all flash at once.
A bright red light casting haunting shadows for miles at a split second pace.
The road feels impossibly unending, but the engine rumbles forward.
It is now well-past midnight.
And, yet, the road is still dotted with headlights.
Where are they all headed?
What kind of lives do they lead?
I really need another dose of caffeine.
* * * * *
It’s funny how different time seems.
My life in Oklahoma seems like an entire lifetime ago. Perhaps, in a way, it was.
But even something simpler, like a drive, can feel so different.
A ten hour drive today makes a three hour drive for a field trip to the Route 66 Museum feel like nothing now, but I remember it taking ages then.
I remember appreciating the museum.
It was neat, but we only went because as part of the A.P. English course. We read The Grapes of Wrath. I had dreaded reading the novel, mostly because I had hated The Pearl. I was pleasantly surprised to find how much I enjoyed this outing with Steinbeck.
On the drive on backroads back to my school, I felt unpleasantly full from the double-meat chili cheeseburger, fries, and a chocolate shake.
It’s funny, after over ten years, the memory stands out so vividly. Leaning against the side of the bus. Bored and ready to be back.
The bus was surprisingly silent, most of my classmates were either making out or asleep.
But at the time, I considered myself the lucky one because when a bus of girls drove passed, I was the only one to notice that they flashed us.