The deep orange and warm yellow light from the setting sun seeps into the car through a thin sheet of lightly tanned dust that is gently layered over the windshield. I calmly gaze out beyond the sea of slowly moving vehicles that are stuck in traffic to the horizon. The subtle bits of grime and dust wouldn’t have been as noticeable if it wasn’t for the incandescent rays from the falling orb in the sky, but I find the messy view comforting.
It’s this image of the dusty windshield that steals away my thoughts and brings me back to older times. I’m reminded of long drives in pickup trucks along the dusty back roads that are nestled in between fields of growing crops out in the country. I can easily hear conversations and sing-alongs to classic country songs with my best friend as I soak in the similarly warm glimmers of a sunset that finds its way through the dusty windshield.
Memories resurface of moments in time where I would look out the slightly dirty windshield sitting next to my sister from the back seat of my parents’ car on our way home. I would take glances at the sun that seemingly bled across the blue sky, and watched as it gently pulled a dark and cool blanket of bright planets and stars behind it.
I exit my car to look at the windshield that is covered in what seems like the same coating of dust that was collected on cars that traveled to new destinations on lonely rural highways. I’m reminded of summers driving out to houses sitting next to corrals before riding Quarter and Palomino horses.
I’d leave the dust on my car a little longer in my later years until I drove back to the bustling and less dusty freeways of the bigger cities. It would serve as a reminder of my travels back home to where I grew up and as a way not to waste cash on a car wash that would need to happen once I got back to the city anyway.
Dirty windshields would always remind me of camping trips next to scenic hiking trails and summers where we attended birthday parties in the local community parks. I will never forget eating salty sunflower seeds and playing just outside the local baseball diamond with the little boy my age that lived next door while a game was taking place on the other side of the fence.
Dirty windshields served as a reminder that we had ventured outdoors and that we had lived a little. It also embodied the time filled with memories where I had moments to look at the dancing parade of magnificent colors painted onto the sky behind the setting sun.