Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Road

This isn’t like cutting class. I did not skip Pathfinders last night because I didn’t care about the kids who go there or the church service that’s looming ominously in front of them. And I did not refrain from going to work today because I don’t care about my job or my students’ well being. Basically, my mind was so bogged down that I would have been of no use in either role.

In an attempt to hit the stressor re-set button, I headed to the mountains with the twisty roads. I’m still sans bike, so had to make do in my WRX with the windows rolled all the way down to let the air in. … It worked out pretty well given the circumstances.

Or perhaps it’s just the nature of the road itself. Even though I hadn’t covered the whole distance of it, it was still almost familiar because it’s kind of like my life, which is to say unpredictable... and varied. It veers left, then it careens to the right as it follows the shoreline of the lake. At times, the view is wide open and you can see everything, while at others you have no idea where you are because of the dense trees surrounding you. I drove by hills that were all purple with wild flowers, while the hill next to it was all yellow, and I went through meadows that were light blue or white. At still other times I didn’t see flowers at all because of the huge rocky walls and the abrupt cliffs on either side. But always there was the mystery of what was around that next corner (and there were a LOT of blind corners).

Once, the corner revealed COWS, though they were off to the side of the road. Another time, the irregular humps on the road turned out to be two squirrels basking in the sun, and neither horn nor squealing brakes would distract them. It was only after I passed completely overhead that they jerked up in alarm. Then, discovering that the danger had already passed, they both promptly flopped back belly down onto the tarmac to soak up the heat. There’s always something…

Varied and unpredictable are roads and life. A year ago today, my Dad passed away; an unanticipated result of an unexpected disease that struck the most unlikely of people given his excellent health and fitness. He’d never even been hospitalized in his life before receiving the Leukemia diagnosis. But he certainly was hospitalized for this, and this was the day that the struggle to survive ended. It could have been different for him, in a positive way. But then, it could have been different for those two squirrels as well, in a not so positive way.

Had our roles been reversed, I imagine my Dad might have spent the day remembering me in a more constructive way. He might have attempted to do something that mattered rather than abdicate himself from responsibility in order to tear it up through this mountain clime while singing music wholly inappropriate to the risky activity. But then, he wasn’t always predictable, either.

In many ways, I didn’t hold back or leave much behind on what is possibly a record setting time along that stretch. A lot of tears and rubber… that’s about it.