Once, when driving along on a dirt road on a particularly windy March day, my dad said “Look. They’re changing farms.” I had no clue. He laughed and explained the land on the left of the road was moving itself by way of the wind to become part of the field on the right of the road.
I have never forgotten that truth, nor the way he saw the wind as a worker bee, as a change agent. The wind was at work. You can’t see that when you’re hauling butt at 80 miles an hour on I-95. You may be creating wind, but you are not watching it create art.
Along with farmers exchanging their land, back roads let you in on secrets and allow you to see the miraculous and the mysterious, buildings tearing themselves down, people hard at work hanging on to what they have, and houses growing where tobacco once did.
Solar farms bloom where cotton blossomed. I lament what might be loss, but can’t wait to see what might come next. And I can’t see changes if I don’t take the roads. I won’t know what was and what might be.
Back roads and blue highways slow you down, to the pace where you see despair and taste hope. Communities grow at crossroads, bundling people together in like causes and changing times. These roads bid us to make our travels slow and our memories wind proof. Take the long way home.
The journey or the destination?
Why not both?
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