It was a dark stormy night (no, this isn't the beginning of a campfire tale), when I decided to travel off the beaten path. I
had grappled with the decision to take a safer route, but what fun was that. It's a route that's slightly out of my way to go almost anywhere. It's curvy,
somewhat dangerous, occasional wildlife, with limited lighting and visibility. The few road signs available try to warn you of the potential dangers. In fact, I've
encountered fellow travelers who have succumbed to its dangers. Nothing catastrophic, mind you, but a reminder to myself of the seriousness of that road. And when you
mix in a dark, stormy night you are making a potentially dangerous situation more dangerous. There is limited visibility even in good driving conditions, but this particular
night when those windshield wipers couldn't keep time with Bobby clapping hands (Me and Bobby McGee reference), fallen limbs, and trees...what was I thinking? As it turned
out, I made it home safely. But to try to answer my own question without utilizing the latest psychobabble, the reason for taking this road probably does revert back to
my childhood. But I didn't have to lie down on Dr. Freud's proverbial couch to find an answer. All right..I'll let it out. As a child, I always
wanted to be a race car driver. Not just any race car driver, but a grand prix driver. Maybe it was the movie Grand Prix starring the late great James Garner.
Maybe it was the jet setting, fast lane, exotic lifestyles these men lived off the track. Of course, I never realized my dream , but maybe I'm vicariously living it via
this road in my Nissan Sentra derisively called the Wayback Machine by my son...yep, all the way back to 1987. It is seat of your pants driving at its very best.
There's another road I also travel. Again out of the way of "preparing a face for the faces that I meet" as T.S. Eliot so
aptly put it. Just like the other road, it would conserve time if I took the shorter route. This particular road is nestled within the heart of the city. I
discovered it a few years back and fortunately, little has changed. It reminds me of an old Twilight Zone episode in which a weary traveller takes a right turn into another
world. Or perhaps wandering into 1960's Mayberry. I didn't think places like this existed anymore, especially within city limits. Unlike the other road,
this one is safe for travel. It is basically an L-shaped road with a bucolic setting. There's a couple of farms, plenty of trees, cattle, crops, cactus, a pond, and
a breathtaking view of the local Lover's Leap. There is no question why I go out of my way to take this road. I don't have to consult anybody on this.
This road allows me to take a break from my harried, stressful lifestyle. At least I get a few minutes reprieve from the hustling, bustling city and all of its
demands. I don't even have to ask the question about why I take this road. It's self evident. Sometimes when I'm driving along this road, I also
imagine myself back in childhood. As I survey the Mesquites, Chinaberries, and Cedars, I want to get lost in its wooded acreage. I want to explore, I want to fish,
I want to shoot tin cans (remember those) with my Daisy bb gun. I want to be Christopher Robin in The Hundred Acre Woods. Well it's almost to the point where the
road ends. My blood pressure rises, the sight of the traffic light is depressing but it's a new working day after all. I soldier on. My wife asks me where
I've been. If she only knew. We all have our own roads to travel...literal and metaphorical.