Spring road trip prompts rediscovery and inspiration

Time seems so endless yet passes so quickly. Like the poet Ovid wrote, "Tempis Fugit" - time flies.

Before college, time didn't seem to matter as much. It wasn't my concern; all I had to do was fill in the hours that weren't predetermined, fleetingly wasting them away with topical analgesics for my mind. My only exposure to Ovid's poignant commentary was on walks with Cuba, a friend's rambunctious golden retriever, who was trained, when prompted with the ubiquitous Latin phrase, to take care of business with urgency and resolution that would impress Caesar himself.

Recently, however, my perception of time, like the cosmos it shaped, has changed beyond recognition. No longer do I live in a soma-like state of bliss. Over half a decade of piddling around with no diploma to crookedly hang in my living room has made me cold and bitter to time's passing. Every incoming crop of diminutive freshmen adds another ring around my trunk, leaving this staunch environmentalist begging for deforestation and strip malls.

Fortunately, before the foreboding winter sky could swallow me up in a flurry of powder and self-pity, Spring Break arrived. For collegians disdainful of impeding professional lives and fully cemented adulthood, this is the ultimate expression of youth. Hastily packed cars and international bound planes suddenly jam-packed with contemptuous thrill-seekers disperse across the world like liberated research monkeys. They fill up cheap single-bed motel rooms, crash on floors, couches and beaches and disregard any and all responsibility in the hopes of finding an equally careless, temporary mate.

And for one last go round, I was determined to take part. I would shed meaningless encumbrances like scholastic obligations, internship searches and creative pursuits. I would attack the opportunity like I still brandished that fake New Jersey driver's license, the one with the faded hologram and peeling corners, the one that could elicit laughter from even the most hardhearted door jockey. I would simply let loose and have fun. Perhaps this might help me to stop living by the passing second hand of the clock, always moving in the same played-out direction, always pushing me uneasily forward.

The destination was familiar: Savannah, Ga. The normally quiet town comes alive every St. Patrick's Day, when it hosts the nation's second largest celebration of all things Irish. Hundreds of thousands of visitors descend upon the city, trying to enrich themselves with authentic Celtic traditions like drinking Irish car bombs, eating giant turkey legs and viewing fountains dyed green (throw in some Lucky Charms and its like you never left those rolling hills of Killarney).

Before we made it to the drunkenness and treacherous cobblestones of River Street, the water-hugging byway that serves as the epicenter for the celebration, my accomplices and I took a detour to the mountains of northwestern Georgia. Like true outdoor enthusiasts, we arrived late in the afternoon, filled ourselves endlessly with the best $5 all-you-can-eat pizza buffet in existence and stumbled up Blood Mountain at night.

After nearly three miles of self-doubt and steep climbing through the dense, dark forest, we emerged onto the bare rock outcroppings that crown the second highest peak in Georgia.

No longer was there complete darkness and frustration; now there was a brilliant moon glow that would have trumped even the brightest of artificial illumination and a chilly mountain wind that ushered in a sense of calm and contentment.

The rest of the trip went as any spring break romp might. There was drinking before noon (when waking up that early was an option), drunken bar-be-cues, drunken porch sitting, drunken dog walking (to appease our drunken host), drunken football and, of course, drunken hollering.

As someone who long forgot what it was like start the day off with a mildly refrigerated Coors Light, this frenzied (and pointless) alcohol consumption initially was a shock, but old habits die hard, and after a couple rounds I was back on the wagon, riding with the best the Betty Ford Clinic had to offer.

After three nights and two days of mind-numbing achievement, we reluctantly made our way back to D.C. and its accompanying normalcy. Despite fatigue and lactic acid overdose, I felt some sort of invigoration after the whole ordeal; though it wasn't from the incessantly waving float-mongers or marching bands, the cheap, shiny beads, or the immature girls that were all too eager to let vodka and cranberry ease away their inhibitions.

It was the view on Blood Mountain that did it. That's what made time stand still. Zooming up I-95 like starship troopers, past towed-up rusty Corvettes and Santee Furniture Worlds, I realized that for me, and for anyone with a creative spirit, the only way to not succumb to the perils of time is to engage on a never-ending quest for inspiration. Ignoring age and circumstance is not enough. It will always catch up to you. Though time frustrates all, finding inspiration to fuel your endeavors will keep anyone with a hunger to conquer space and time young at heart.

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