The drive west was taking longer than she expected. Hours had passed since she had first mentally-checked her luggage while filling the gas tank of her car in the early morning light, before she flipped on the blinker and pulled out onto the open highway. The landscape, so flat and dull passed by in a blur of endless miles. It seemed that she would never reach her destination.
But just as it seemed all hope was lost, the car crested a high hill. Upon the descent, she could see the long bridge that crossed the Missouri River and just beyond, West River. Gone were the endless plains, replaced with the gentle rolling hills of green, specked with shrubs that set the spark of hope aflame. Everything changes, not just the landscape. She opened a window so she can take it all in. The air smelled better, the temperature felt cooler as the wind brushed against her arm and her face, and the breeze played with her hair.
She entered Mountain Time, gained an hour, and felt that time was finally on her side. Past the 160 mile marker where the ramshackle remains of the old family homestead still stands. Her family. Her heart skipped a beat at the sight of the home as it passed quickly by. Every mile now brought her closer and closer to her final destination. She smiled as she thought of all the things yet to be checked off on her travel bucket list, but this trip was purely for relaxation. She had no plans, no agenda, and she couldn’t wait for it to begin.
Fifty miles to go. She stopped for gas, wishing the numbers on the pump would tick by faster.But soon enough, she turned the back onto the road to finish the journey. A smile crossed her face as the sign for the exit appeared. She merged, barely able to contain her excitement. As she turned into the driveway, she took a deep breath, and exhaled slowly. With the knowledge that the setting sun that evening would be on the western horizon of the hills, she reached for her bags and opened the car door. She was home at last.
~Originally published June 2015~