isn’t my first choice when it comes to driving conditions, but considering what I have found myself driving in from time to time, it also isn’t my last.
I like to drive.
The mindless task of following the road is among my favorite things to do. It doesn’t matter, really, whether it is barely a ditch carved out of dirt, a steep ribbon of pavement curving and winding into a mountain or long stretches of interstate that seem, at times, to fade into infinity.
My thoughts flow freely, my mind wanders aimlessly and I feel as uninhibited as the birds in the air when I am behind the wheel. If the weather is so that I can put the convertible top down, the pleasure is multiplied tenfold.
The destination isn’t all that important; going somewhere specific, heading nowhere in particular or coming home.
It doesn’t matter.
Heading home today from a weekend out of town, it didn’t occur to me to concern myself with the rain falling in torrential sheets, pooling on the already wet road. It didn’t make me nervous or anxious or fearful … even when coming up behind the tractor-trailers spewing a nearly blinding mist up in the road, it didn’t occur to me.
I figure, at those times, the two choices are to either take my place behind them and suffer the constant barrage of what they throw up from the asphalt or speed up and pass them.
There was something ethereal about the verdant greens along the sides of the interstate, beneath the falling rain. I had a hard time finding fault as long as I could see the yellow line and, at the same time, take in the sulking, brooding gray of the heavy sky above the greenery and blooming things of late April.
My intentions were to spend today hiking in the Smoky Mountains, however, the weather did not cooperate. While I don’t mind taking a risk or two to get to the places I wish to see, I’m not going to invite disaster.
Hiking on the wet, steep, rocky trails alone would have been careless and while I have my moments of carelessness, I try not to make a habit of being so on purpose.
I started home in the rain and muck with a song on the radio and the highway stretching out before me. When I came to the last few miles, a narrow country road (in my mind, “my road”), an offshoot of a country highway, I was stunned.
In the two days I have been gone, it seems that Spring exploded on Big Moccasin; the fields edging up to the base of Clinch Mountain are greener, fuller. The high grass, dancing in the wind and the wildflowers, now abundant, unfurling their vibrant, colorful blooms without shyness or fear of frost took my breath away.
The sheer magnitude of the beauty of it, of home, of Spring, brought tears to my eyes.
I was reminded, once again, that no matter what I may have seen today had I stayed where I was, it wouldn’t have been any more beautiful than the height of spring in my own back yard.
On a larger scale than the peaks and valleys of Clinch Mountain, perhaps. But not more beautiful.
It just goes to show that springtime in the mountains, irregardless of which mountains, is a stimulating treat for the senses. As for the rain … well, nothing smells quite so wonderful as the Spring mountains after a rain, now does it?