In the last two months, I have interviewed a diverse group of individuals about self-care in these days and times. Most respondents expressed that they have used this time to forge stronger bonds with their families or in Forrest Evans’s case, adding to her family unit with her dog Sula’s adoption. Many respondents are regularly engaging in outdoor recreational activities like Geronimo Collins’ use of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Trail. I had a deep sense of connection to Maurice Passmore, Jr’s thoughts on how peaceful a scenic car ride can be. On Sundays, that is what I do. Taking a scenic car ride is easily my favorite self-care activity. I love experiencing the texture of America’s built and natural landscape, by car. So, when I left my home last Sunday with a desire to coast the four wheels of my vehicle along the winding backroads of Georgia, I initially did not have a specific destination in mind. When I saw the celebration of life being given that day to the late Congressman John Lewis, I determined I would make my first visit to Selma, Alabama.
On my way back to Atlanta from Selma, Alabama, a rainbow glimmered in the sky for at least 20-minutes. I was so mesmerized by the rainbow’s sight accenting the beautiful mountain lined horizon seen on Alabama’s US-80, I almost let my sister’s phone call go to voicemail. I took the call and had to admit that it was like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. She and I got a few belly laughs in, and unexpectedly she shared her thoughts on watching Congressman John Lewis’s final crossing of the Edmond Pettus Bridge. She described it as peaceful. When I heard her describe it in that way, I had to agree it was the communal peacefulness that we have not seen televised in quite some time. That is what inspired me to descend upon Selma, Alabama that day. I believe it is safe to say that Congressman Lewis lived a full life. It was a gift to make my first visit to Selma, Alabama when the city celebrated his life.
My trip from Atlanta to Selma, Alabama, lasted about five hours. I did not use the highway to get to Selma, opting for the scenic route instead. During that time and due to COVID-19, I made one stop to refuel my car and a restroom break. I did not eat out that day, which isn’t unusual because I sometimes abstain from foods during extended car drives. I practiced social distancing even in outdoor settings, a mask was worn, and sometimes gloves. I state this because I need to advocate implementing safety measures when taking domestic road trips.
That Sunday drive to Selma, Alabama, was fulfilling. I felt the ancestral presence of Congressman John Lewis while I was there. Seeing the ephemera left behind, people walking about taking photos of historical markers, a young newscaster corresponding with her videographer to create the perfect segment for the evening news was all because of the “boy from Troy.”