I was driving from Orlando to Tampa to visit my family. My nerves were shaky as they usually are on the drive west. Ricocheting between my optimism and my anxiety to get back to my life in Orlando, I am usually blind-sided by the turbulent nature of the home I grew out of.
I focus my eyes on the road as my speedometer reads close to 80 mph and I try to navigate the screen of my iPod by touch alone. I usually prefer to drive at night. I'm not used to all this traffic and sunlight blaring through my windshield. My nervous energy is in full force as I keep hitting the "Next" button on my iPod. I don't even know what I'm in the mood to listen to. I try to subdue my fears about the rough waters ahead.
Then I hear the soft melody of his guitar and my hand finds its rightful resting place across my lap. I can feel my back roll into the drivers seat as I take a long, deep breath.
I have many of his songs but the one that came up that day was his version of "I'm on Fire". Although he lacks the gruff vocals of The Boss I have to admit that I always liked his version better. He has the capacity to be innocent, aware, haunting, and vulnerable all in the same breath. I surrender all control of my environment with the exception of my hand on the wheel and let his voice nourish all the empty space in my car.
The endless fields of Florida brush start to resemble gentle ocean waves undulating in slow motion. Cotton clouds speckle the great blue expanse. As I stare ahead at vanishing point of the highway in the horizon I realize that this how ancient sailors must have felt. Lost in my travels, driven by the instinct to move, with a siren's song stuck in my ears. If I didn't know any better I could have sworn that the edge of the Earth was waiting for me just beyond my field of vision. Yet as I get closer and closer to the edge my fear becomes less and less. My Siren does not call me to my doom. His voice makes me feel like I can conquer all obstacles. His song is all the permission I need to center myself. Another deep breath and I regain tranquility.
I could sail off the edge of the map listening to a voice like that.