Daily Archives: March 17, 2010

Literature: Song of the Open Road

Greetings from The Road. I’m on a two-week ski trip, sputtering along in my 1970 VW van from Vail, Colorado to Tahoe to Salt Lake and back. It’s all dusty, dry air and blue skies here this morning, mid-Utah, and I’m just setting off to see how far I can make it through Nevada at 55 mph before it gets dark. Taking off on a big fat road trip is exhilarating, especially when it involves new terrain. I’ve never traversed Nevada, never been to Reno, Truckee, or South Lake Tahoe, so I’m all open-eyed about it. And in this moment, perhaps Walt Whitman–in the first lines of his “Song of the Open Road”–expresses the excitement I’m feeling (from a vehicle and not on foot…):

Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune—I myself am good fortune;
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Strong and content, I travel the open road…

That’s just the start of a very long, beautiful poem. To read more of Walt Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road” on Bartleby.com, click here.

Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass. Philadelphia: David McKay, [c1900]; Bartleby.com, 1999. www.bartleby.com/142/. [March 17, 2010].