As you may suspect from last week’s post, Jeffrey Walter and I went on vacation. It was a much-needed break from our day to day lives and as usual, we drove. According to the map app on my phone, it was actually a 353-mile drive (one way), but so worth it. Needless to say (or not), we drove across miles and miles (and miles) of countryside, including pastures, farmland, and trees. Lots and lots of trees – southern pines most often, with a few pecan orchards and hardwoods thrown in here and there.
On the way to our destination, rain had recently ended, clouds still hung overhead, and most everything was still wet. Have you ever noticed how colors look so much more vivid after a rain? The tree trunks appeared black with the stark contrast of green against the cloudy sky. And the green! – so many different shades thanks to new spring growth.
It’s hard to recall everything I was thinking and seeing while driving – no, we didn’t take any pictures. We were listening to Led Zeppelin, The Doors, and The Moody Blues (to name a few). In my memory, I can see the purple statice, red clover, goldenrod, brown-eyed Susans, bull thistle and other “weeds” blooming along the roadside – plant names I recall my mother using. The fields in their various states – growing grains or other crops, lying fallow, or freshly tilled – inspiring creative thoughts. The dirt variations making some fields look like the Painted Desert, while the sandy soil of other fields, hundreds of miles inland, look like the beach.
Of course, there were homes and businesses, but the “new” highways generally pass those by. The small towns along the way are mostly forgotten by the traveler, as gains in gas mileage have decreased the need to stop. The 4-lane roads cutting through the middle of farms and orchards. Homes big and small; new and old – in various states of disrepair. Some homes and old barns collapsing under the weight of weeds, neglect and overgrowth; other homes with immaculately manicured lawns while a cow pasture is just a few feet away.
I’ve driven this road many times and spent a lot of time in this part of the south. Each time is a little different, but the southern pines always remind me of good times.
Have you driven through the countryside lately? What have you noticed?
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