Once again I am at the Tan Tar-A resort in Osage Beach, Missouri to present at the Missouri Department of Mental Health's Real Choices Real Voices conference. Just like last year I drove through the night to get here. Unlike last year though the drive was a happier experience.
Of all the things I've done this year the drive last night easily ranks in the top 5 of favorite moments. The initial drive was simple interstate driving, but once I got near Rolla I turned onto a small two lane road and then either then or down the road the road turns into Missouri route 42 and the real fun begins.
The drive during the day is exciting enough as the curves and elevation changes is very much like Germany's Nurburgring. The speed limit is a brisk 55 and the trees line the road. After a few miles on this road all exterior lighting is gone; there are no street lights, no stop lights, maybe a house light every five miles, and all other traffic ceases to exist. Truly, one is alone. This feeling of solitude was an amazing feeling. Well, I was almost alone but there was an occasional game of dodge the possum and other wildlife. To add the to mystique of this drive there was flashes of lightning on the horizon. Despite the dangerous road and awesome light show in the sky my mind was hard at work thinking about things.
There were words that were replaying in my mind over and over. At a recent presentation someone told me the strongest words ever in terms of what my presentation meant to them. Normally, unless I am presenting, I don't have any concept of what I do, but on this drive I thought about the past, and the present, and the future. One thing I don't normally think of is what I want for the future, but if anything, as I was going up and down on the hills and my sense were working in overdrive mode to scan for deer and the like, my ambition grew.
I have to admit, I felt like a race car driver on that road and that got me to thinking on what I would be like if I were racing professionally. All the people I've met, all the places I've been, and all the eyes I've opened would never have happened. The streaks of lightning was a great symbolic event because that's what the passion and ambition felt like within me.
My arrival at Tan Tar-A was at 2:04 and I had not seen another car on the road for over an hour. I was sad to see the drive end because with each passing mile my desire to be a better writer and to be a better presenter grew. I found it odd as I walked into the lobby that a drive of pure solitude inspired so much passion. But that's what it did and I feel as if there is an explosion going on within me; an explosion of wanting to do more, be more, and, well, do everything that I do more.