Go West Young Man

daniel adlerIn the bayous the live oaks are hung with Spanish moss and vines crawling all up an down ’em and egrets prance around and a weak breeze floats the pine boughs and waves the oak limbs. Above the sky is high and blue rich light Southern.

There’s something quite different about driving west. Horace Greeley said it, Go west young man, and he knew what it was about. It’s going against the clouds, it’s going to find the end, the adventure, where it all is about; it’s the search for a life worth living; it’s the only route for a young man, because going east is for an older man, who’s already had a few fun times.

When we was driving down Highway 61 in Misissippi, due south, it was all so peaceful and quiet and lazy and warm. The south is languid and welcoming and you feel like you’re getting close to your mother with every mile. But the west is exciting and endless, untill you finally arrive. The north is altogether different; it’s for shelter, hiding and burrowing down for a season in a mountain cabin.

Texas is so different from the south. It is unburdened by the demands of Reconstruction and poverty and the Mississippi River, which is the umbilical cord that ties the region to it and makes Louisiana and Mississippi subject to its waters. But Texas is free and open, almost 900 miles wide, a third of the country. And then the evening redness in the West…

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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