You know you're not supposed to take the car out of state.
So you drive it all the way to the edge of the state. And you stop.
And you rest there. Sleep for a few hours at the rest stop.
Ignore the stories you've heard. The kids murdered at the rest stop.
The guy who opens his car door and finds a hook on the door handle.
The bodies never found... and the ones found in the woods.
You should really stay in a motel. But you won't be there that long.
You're heading further. Six hours past the border.
Six hours past where you're allowed to go.
To a small airport. A tiny airport to meet a plane that's late.
This is years before 9/11 and the security is lax. They let you keep the car by the curb for two hours. The guards come and talk to you, but they're friendly. They don't care if you move the car or not.
Times have changed since then. The small airport was rebuilt and expanded at a cost of fifty million dollars.
The guards now shoo you away if you park for more than five minutes.
The car companies now put GPS devices on their vehicles and know instantly if you take their cars out of state.
But the rest stop is still there. And there's still no sign of the guy with the hook for an arm.
And the guy who drove up there and went to the small airport?
I wrote this four years ago -- and edited it just a little for today.
Today is John Lennon's birthday. If he'd lived, he would be 73 years old.
That's almost impossible to imagine. And out of all the celebrities who've died in my lifetime, I took his death the hardest. (I never met him, I didn't even like all his music, but there was something about his spirit that I connected with at a very deep and fundamental level.)
In the same way, I connect with Iceland in a very deep and fundamental level. There's something amazing and spiritual about Iceland and it's reflected in their lifestyle, their music, and in their amazingly beautiful scenery.
Every year, Iceland holds a huge music festival in October called Iceland Airwaves. Every year I vow to get there, but I haven't made it yet.
In 2006, Yoko Ono started construction on the Imagine Peace Tower, on a small island just off the coast of Reykjavik, Iceland. Since this project combined John Lennon and Iceland, I followed its progress closely.
The "tower" consists of a wishing well, on which is written the phrase "Imagine Peace" in 24 languages. Under the base of the wishing well are more than a half-million handwritten wishes Ono collected from people all around the world.
In 2007, the tower was unveiled. Each year on John Lennon's birthday, the monument becomes a "tower of light" as 15 searchlights are bounced through mirrors and prisms to create a beam of light that stretches more than 12,000 feet into the sky. The tower of light is kept lit each year until December 8 (the day John Lennon was killed).
If you can't make it to Iceland, you can see live streaming video of the tower here.
Visit the official Imagine Peace Tower website online here.
Or take a look at a great time-lapse video of the tower from 2011 (complete with aurora activity around 12 seconds in):
On a block where you could sometimes park. If you were lucky.
Across from the coffee shop that was always crowded and served huge pots of tea.
And the Thai Place.
And the other Thai Place.
It was one of those places people who liked spirituality and paganism and Druids would speak about in hushed tones.
She went in all the time. Bought books. Drank green tea. And breathed in the incense.
I waited for her. Outside.
Until that one day that I ventured inside. Smelled the Patchouli. Looked through the many different types of massage therapists whose cards were up on the cork board.
And in the back of my mind, I heard this song.
And thought of monsters. Dancing.
And while I could tell you I found her in the metaphysical section, anyone who ever went to that store knows the whole store was the metaphysical section.
I went back there today.
The bookstore's gone.
The Thai Place is now a trendy boutique. The other Thai Place is now a shoestore. The coffee shop closed, reopened as a different coffee shop, and now is a different coffee shop with hookahs at the tables on the sidewalk.
The shady tree fell down and the street is now permit-only, so you can't even park there.
The monsters no longer dance there. They've moved somewhere else.
I'm pretty sure they'd want me to find them.
And maybe she'll even be there. In the metaphysical section, naturally.