I’ve written before about my favourite album Hejira; Joni Mitchell‘s travelogue of flight from relationships. Perhaps with the amount of travelling that I’m doing at the moment there is more reason than ever for it to resonate.

The attraction of the road for me is limited; my life measured by a succession of cheap hotel rooms and less than perfectly ironed shirts. My week began with five and a half hours of heavy spray and speed restricted roads, though as I listened to Paul Buchanan‘s anguished climax to The Downtown Lights, I at least had an idea for a photograph. If I waited until evening the wet roads might provide a canvas for some neon light. Throw in a ripple or two from a gingerly placed foot? Might be too much to ask for.

Of course none of that came to pass because as the evening arrived, so the rain departed. Reading provided the lights and the location, but not the precipitation, so I returned to my hotel for a night of train and traffic noise punctuated occasionally by the subsonic rumble of a nearby snorer, but little sleep.  Plenty of time to ruminate on my relationships.

Refuge of the roads? Maybe not Joni.

I met a friend of spirit
He drank and womanized
And I sat before his sanity
I was holding back from crying
He saw my complications
And he mirrored me back simplified
And we laughed how our perfection
Would always be denied
“Heart and humour and humility”
He said “Will lighten up your heavy load”
I left him for the refuge of the roads

Joni Mitchell, Refuge of the Roads


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