state line, reprise

We crossed from Washington to Idaho in high spirits under a cool evening sky, with the lights just beginning to shine along Stateline Road. From the freeway you couldn't miss that you'd just crossed the state line--not because of the signs but because the state line was shimmering and alive. It wasn't long before we'd left Idaho behind--some winding through the countryside, stopping once for gas and something to drink--and then we were in the vast expanse of Montana, an endless night drive through spring snow in the mountains.

I remember very clearly what happened in which states, even though the terrain blends together, and in that part of the country I couldn't tell you a photograph of one state's landscape from another. It's important, somehow. After Montana, which stretched on forever, it was North Dakota, and just knowing that we'd finally left the state behind put me at ease, even if I knew that North Dakota would be just as dull.

There wasn't much else interesting on the road, but one time, much later, when I was visiting a girl I knew in Wisconsin, I took her out for a walk and we walked along the state line as well as I could manage it. She humored me, I think, but she didn't understand, not really. There's a magic to it, though.

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