Wednesday, August 30, 2006
The Road Less Traveled.......
There is a small dirt road in the upper regions of North Carolina that is one of my favorites....Or it was when I was growing up. You could go for miles on it and then you come to a spot where there are about a dozen smaller dirt lanes, not much more than buggy paths, that branch off from the main road. All within a 100 foot radius.
Now some of the lanes go steeply uphill. Some go slightly downhill. Others go steeply downhill or slightly uphill. And a couple just lead off on a somewhat level plane. But all of them have two things in common. They all branch off the main dirt road, which is a bit bumpy to begin with, and you can't see very far down them after only a few yards because they all curve at a certain point. I've been down every one of those lanes. I've made many detours from the somewhat bumpy dirt road to see what was down these others.
The entrance to every one of the lanes is different. Some are very landscaped and beautiful with mountain laurel and black-eyed Susans growing in abundance. Some have miniature hemlocks growing and look very natural but it's a "planned" natural look. And some of them look absolutely unkempt. Weeds growing everywhere and not a lick of flowers or shrubs to dress it up. Some even have chains across them. No locks- just a thin chain or cable and in one case just a bare tree-limb laid across it.
Naturally I took the prettiest ones first. And usually they led right to a space already occupied by someone else who was unwilling to share the beauty of it with anyone else. Sometimes these pretty ones led to nothing- an absolute dead end with nothing but big trees at the end and no way to turn around. You had to back out the same way you came in and if you made one miscalculation you could have been in real trouble.
Some led to a REAL dead end- a cliff that plunged a hundred feet to the bottom of the gorge- not marked in any way- just the sudden sight of blue sky in the windshield. God help you if you were going too fast to slow down in time, if it was dark when you went there the first time, or inebriated in some way. Dangerous as it was- that was an eye-opening moment- a moment that made you look at your life and think- what if............
The grown up ones lead to the most beautiful scenery and scenic views I have ever beheld or ever hope to behold. Beautiful views of the mountain range for miles and miles and miles. A secluded spot perfect for a picnic lunch and a short nap before continuing the journey. A view of one of the wondrous waterfalls that are abundant in those mountains - provided you know where to look for them.
And one- ONE out of all those small lanes was a shortcut back to the main four lane highway- the road that would get you to your destination faster and easier on the smooth blacktop, but had no places to slow down and enjoy the ride, no flowers to stop and smell along the way, and no pretty views to look at as you rolled along. Just an interstate expressway and toll-roads to take all your joy and money away with tall lob-lolly pines and scrub-brush to look at as you zoomed your way along.
The moral of the story?
You tell me.
Posted by Sunny at 5:31 PM