The late Spring air smells of rain mingled with honeysuckle and roses as I cruise the back roads of Nicholas County. I have the windows down in my big blue truck as I queue up the music from my youth. I drive a little slower than I did then if I’m not late. Okay, I drive a lot slower. A friend once teased me by saying that every time I found a straight stretch in the road that the state had to come along behind me and paint new lines to replace the ones I blew off.
Back then I was kinda locked into the “guy thing”. Expressing masculinity through raw power and that meant speed and loud music at the time. I have a distinct memory of this same road and the soundtrack from Top Gun blaring out of a 1985 silver Dodge Colt at unmentionable speeds.
However, these days I have more of an appreciation for taking in the view and looking for the little things that go unnoticed by the average person. Things like the rust on the roof of the barn and the small birds that frequent power lines above the road. You might say that I’ve discovered that there’s an art to driving on a country road.
You still have to have that edge of a sharp eye and reflexes. You still need to feel the wheels in contact with road. Only it’s not about keeping it between the lines. Instead it’s about not missing the experience. But, it’s a different kind of thrill.
The contrast between the two driving styles brings up the thought of how I view time now as compared to then. My younger self was thinking, “Don’t waste time getting there” while today it’s more like “Don’t waste opportunity getting there”. I suppose that as I’ve gotten older I have a better appreciation for the here and now. Some if that comes from being established as my own person but most of it comes from finally realizing that all we really have is the moment in which we exist.
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