Sunday, February 22, 2009

More John Updike

Again, it's long... skip over if you have to. But I love it.

"At the entrance to the Turnpike Neil did a strange thing; he stopped the car and had me take the wheel... We crossed the Susquehanna on a long smooth bridge below Harrisburg, then began climbing toward the Alleghenies. In the mountains there was snow, a dry dusting like sand that waved back and forth on the road surface. Farther along, there had been a fresh fall that night, about two inches, and the plows had not yet cleared all the lanes.

"I was passing a Sunoco truck on a high curve when without warning the scraped section gave out and I realized I might skid into the fence, if not over the edge. The radio was singing 'Carpets of clover, I'll lay right at your feet,' and the speedometer said 81.

"Nothing happened; the car stayed firm in the snow, and Neil slept through the dancer, his face turned skyward and his breath struggling in his nose... We made the long irregular descent toward Pittsburgh.

"There were many reasons for my feeling so happy. We were on our way. I had seen a dawn. This far, Neil could appreciate, I had brought us safely. Ahead, a girl waited who, if I asked, would marry me, but first there was a long trip; many hours and towns interceded btween me and that encounter. There was the quality of the 10 A.M. sunglight as it existed in the air ahead of the windshield, filtered by the thing overcast, blessing irresponsibility - you felt you could slice forever through a cool pure element - and springing, by implying how high these hills had become, a widespreading pride: Pennsylvania, your state - as if you had made your life. And there was knowing that twice since midnight a person had trusted me enough to fall asleep beside me."

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