Today was a sick day. After spending much of yesterday feeling on the verge of illness, my son and I both woke with identical symptoms this morning – sore throat and headache. We spent the day camped out on the sofa, alternately watching TV and resting when our eyelids felt heavy. Severe weather rolled through earlier in the afternoon, but skies began to clear near sunset. I’m not a person that deals well with inactivity. My body gets antsy and my mind contemplative.
To squash the stir-crazy feeling that was building most of the afternoon, I took a short trip out west of town as dusk fell. Within a few miles, I’d found my way off the main section roads. The loose gravel floated under my tires as I splashed through potholes filled by the afternoon thunderstorms. I stopped along a freshly-tilled field, crooked corn stalks dotting the earth to the horizon. A treeline surrounding a rural homestead provided scale and silhouette at the end of the road.
The hum of the interstate provided a consistent, unobtrusive score to the evening. My congested lungs breathed in the cool, still air left behind by this afternoon’s storms. I could faintly smell the earth that had so recently been home to intense production. The road seemed to point down the straight and narrow, to that indistinct point on the horizon, a symbol of destination. But life isn’t straight and narrow. It’s easy to dismiss the twists and turns in the road as detours, as getting lost along the way. But life isn’t truly about destination. Life is about finding your way off the section grid and discovering what lies beyond the treeline.