Saturday, April 2, 2011

BEDA 2: In Which the Events of the Day Smack Vaguely of Adventure

Okay, can I just say that yesterday's post was brought to you by the letter E? E for Emo. I don't know if it was lack of sleep or a total frustration at not being able to be my normal self (all of you have a "company self," right? the one that tries to behave and be polite when other non-immediate-family people are around?) or just a major pity party, but it wasn't pretty.

But that was yesterday. And here is today. And today is about embracing the unexpected.

I work at a library, and the best way to get to said library is to take a left turn off a major highway, cross over some railroad tracks and wind about a block back into a residential area. I always cross those railroad tracks, because that highway is the most direct route from my house to the library. I've never had to go any back way before. But today, right as I pulled out from the parking lot at the end of a rather rushed and stressful day, what did I find? A train was blocking the railroad crossing. Not just passing by, but parked, at a complete standstill, blocking any way to get across.

After sitting there for five minutes, someone behind me got out of their car and walked up to the tracks, had a quick chat with the car at the front of the line, then walked back to their car, informing all the other drivers on the way that said driver had been waiting here for 15 minutes with not a sign that the train would be leaving anytime soon.

Upon hearing that news I said "To heck with this!" and turned around, making a left onto a street parallel with the highway I was trying to get to, hoping that if I went down far enough eventually I'd get across.

At first I was optimistic. True, every time I looked to my left all I saw was more of the train, but surely somewhere up ahead I'd be able to pass? But the neighborhoods waned and the road started getting narrower and less paved, until I came to frustrating point: I could see the end of the train now, but the road ahead had become nothing but gravel winding off into what looked like an empty field. It didn't appear that I'd be able to get across anywhere up there, but what else could I do?

The driver behind me did what most sane people would probably have done and stopped where the paved road ended. He performed a hesitant, jerky 15-point turn and headed back the way we had come. But I didn't want to go back. It was partly just wanting to know where the road led, and partly me being hard-headed and insisting there must be a way across the tracks, and mostly just because I was here and the weather was nice for a change and it all kind of smacked vaguely of adventure.

I drove forward.

I could tell right away that it wasn't a driveway, but it certainly wasn't like any country road I've ever been on. Other than gravel it was nothing but grass and trees all around (interrupted only briefly by railroad tracks). If I didn't know better I wouldn't even imagine there was a highway so close by, just out of sight to my left. It felt like in the space of a few seconds I had left civilization behind completely.

The road wound over a hill and down and started to curve to the right, and at this point I did get a little panicky because there were some major dips and potholes and I could just imagine becoming the horror movie cliche by getting a flat tire and becoming stranded in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately that didn't happen, but as I wound up one last hill I found my answer as to where the road led: it was a cemetery. About two dozen gravestones in the middle of this field, sheltered away back here where few people probably even knew it existed. There was enough gravel in the makeshift "parking area" for me to turn around, though if I hadn't been in a rush to get back home I may even have gotten out of the car and looked around a bit. It certainly seemed peaceful. But since this isn't fiction, we'll leave the place there for now, as the last I saw of it was the reflection in my rearview mirror as I drove away.

I ended up heading back the way I came but getting creative with my GPS, which led me down some country roads (I passed several sleepy-eyed cows and a batting cage and some of the coolest dilapidated old sheds). It was only about ten minutes before I was back on familiar turf, but those ten minutes were glorious. Wide fields and picturesque silos. Barns and cows and pretty country houses. Only a couple days ago I had been wondering to myself where all the farms had gone; I remembered that when I was younger we would see cows and fields and wide stretches of forest when my mom would drive us places. Now it seems like everywhere I drive all I see is new housing developments, or yet another Target or CVS. But here they were, so like the places I remembered from my childhood, and a mere stone's throw away from where I went to work everyday.

I think yesterday's post was written by a girl who felt like the world was small, which is the silliest thing a person could possibly feel, because it most definitely ISN'T. So it's almost as if today was somebody's subtle way of reminding me that the world is actually full of surprises. I feel a lot better remembering that there are things yet to be discovered, and that I don't have to wander to the far reaches of the globe to find them.

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