For the past three weekends, Eleanor and Ron or I have been driving the same stretch of road from Chicago to central Ohio. She and Ron drove with all of her stuff from Grinnell on May 17. She and I drove to and from Madison, Wisconsin on May 23-26. Then all three of us drove to Aurora, into downtown Chicago, and back from Crystal Lake on May 30-June 1. That’s a lot of the same roads and the same tolls.
It reminds me of C.J. Cherryh’s novel Hammerfall, set on a fictional desert planet and following two spectacular journeys to the same destination. The first one, led by characters who are considered to be “mad” because they hear voices directing them to travel east, is exciting. The leaders of the “mad,” Marak and Hati, discover that “the mad all moved together” because they had common visions of “the high place….the light, the sun, the star, multiple moons aloft and in a row….the cave, the hall, the hollow place” which turn out to be a starship landing place for visitors from another world.
What Marak and Hati discover when they get to the starship is that the leader of their world is from a different starship, and that the people waiting at the landing place want them to bring the leader and the rest of the native people back there because the desert world is scheduled to be destroyed.
Their second journey through the desert is to get everyone to the starship before that happens. The voice in Marak’s head tells him “we would deeply regret it, Marak Trin, if the hammer comes down before you get to safety.” So they walk the same weary road, facing some of the same dangers, and some new ones.
We didn’t have voices in our heads, but we are definitely weary of driving the same stretch of road, and glad to have made it past all the trucks, through the lane changes, and onto the rural highways before dusk, when the deer come out.
Have you ever repeated a dangerous journey within a short span of time? Did you make it back unscathed?