Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference.
~ Robert Frost
Breakfast: Cereal and
One Corpse Too Many
I am reviewing a local
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THE ROADS LESS TRAVELED
1 May 2004
One of the problems I have, and I suspect most of us have, is that in our busy day-to-day lives we take the direct route wherever were going. We drive at the speed limit (or above). We are focused on the destination and often forget to enjoy the journey itself.
I thought about the contrast between yesterday and today, as I drove to visit my mother, very mindful of the fact that the highway patrol has announced a "speed trap" along the section of I-80 that marks at least 1/3 of the road I must take (I suspect the "speed trap" was on a specific day--and they netted over 300 violators), as cars passed me at well over the speed limit, both on the left, as I drove along in the slow lane, or scaring the bejeezus out of me by coming up on my right, along the shoulder, to zip in front of me, pass in front of the car on the left, and then back to the right lane again.
Were all in such a hurry.
It was a laid back, albeit brief, visit with my mother, bringing her an iris I had purchased for her yesterday, and then back on the road again to deal with rush hour traffic, the speeders, the frustration.
Near home, I got off the freeway to stop at Staples, and then instead of re-joining I-80, I took a lesser traveled highway--still a four lane, but not going to any heavily populated areas, so a pleasant drive. I had time to reflect on what we miss by sticking to those fast freeways.
Yesterday was my day with Barb and instead of going for our weekly walk, we decided to visit an iris farm which is about an hour from where she lives, out in the country, past Lake Berryessa, and all the way to Napa County (actually, just beyond a little winery, where we were tempted to stop, but didnt).
The road out from Barb's house was a 2 lane road that took us through the most beautiful countryside. The hills were covered with a carpet of green, alas already showing signs of soon becoming a carpet of brown--but still green. In spots there were fields of delicate purple wildflowers or masses of bright yellow mustard. There were horse farms and beautiful homes to appreciate.
As we turned off of this road and onto highway 128 (another 2 lane road) a peacock ran across in front of the car and when we looked to the right, there were about 8 peacocks sitting up on a hill. (If I had been by myself, I would have stopped the car to take pictures, but I didnt ask Barb to stop the car anywhere).
We continued on up this country road, passing fly fishermen alongside the river to our left. We passed the enormous dam at Lake Berryessa and then up the hill to look down on the lake behind the dam and all the people enjoying the beautiful warm day.
We were the first to arrive at the iris farm, but soon lots of cars were pulling through the gates of this little farm and it very quickly began to look like recess at the Old Folks home, as there probably arent a lot of younguns who are interested in wandering among the beautiful varieties of irises. Barb and I are both 61 and I suspect we were the youngest people there, and that included the folks who ran the place. (The place is so small and so out of the way that it doesn't have a web site and you can't get cell phone reception there!)
On our way back, we passed lots and lots of vintage sports cars, the sort you might see on a weekend, but there they were on a Thursday.
Today when I turned off on "the road less traveled" I encountered a huge field full of goats. I remember a couple of years ago when I encountered what I assume may be the same flock of goats--belonging to a guy who rents them out each year to clear fields. An ecologically lovely way to get your tall grass cut without having to use farm machinery or fill the air with noxious fumes.
By the time I got home today, I was much more relaxed than I had been when I arrived at my mothers and I attribute that to having turned off away from the traffic and taken the road which would route me through the farmlands, just as the road we took yesterday brought us to sights we never would have seen zipping along the highway at 65-70 mph.
There is enough tension in the world. Its nice, from time to time, to take the roads less traveled, to get off the main drag and investigate whats out there in the boonies. The destination may be the same, but the journey is sure a lot more pleasant.