When I’m on a vacation, be it a month-long backpacking trip or weekend jaunt, each day I plan to leave a section of Walt Whitman’s Song of the Open Road. I might leave it in a B&B guestbook, tuck a note behind a hotel painting or write it on a dollar bill I spend at a hot dog stand. In any case, I’ll be tracking where I leave the poem here. I call it The Open Road Project. Click on the stanzas below to find out where they’ve been left and track the poem’s progress here.
Last weekend, my sweetheart and I took a weekend trip to Edisto, South Carolina, one of my very favorite places on earth. We were there for three nights before heading back home to Knoxville via Charleston, but I was so busy having fun during the trip that I almost forgot all about leaving the poem.
I left the 33rd section of the poem at a restaurant called The Pavilion that overlooks the Ocean on Edisto Beach. There we gorged ourselves on crab legs and celebrated the fact that Shawn had asked me to marry him the night before (spoiler alert: I said yes). There’s really nothing I can compare to all you can eat crab legs and knowing you’re going to spend the rest of your life with the best man ever.
Only the kernel of every object nourishes;
Where is he who tears off the husks for you and me?
Where is he that undoes stratagems and envelopes for you and me?
I left the 34th section of the poem in Charleston, where we stopped for lunch at the Tattooed Moose on our way home and gorged ourselves with garlic blue cheese fries, a duck club and a pork belly sandwich. It was a delightful, delicious and slightly overwhelming meal. The tables at the place were full of graffiti, so I decided to write the poem right onto our dining surface.
Here is adhesiveness, it is not previously fashion’d, it is apropos;
Do you know what it is as you pass to be loved by strangers?
Do you know the talk of those turning eye-balls?
One of the best parts of coming home was finding that our friend had put signs all over the house congratulating us for our future nuptials.
Where the poem’s been so far: