We all have places we need to get to, and often we are in a hurry to get there. That's just how life works. But when you have the time to slow the pace a bit, nothing beats pulling off the interstate and winding down good old country roads. James Taylor sang about walking down these roads, but driving can be just as satisfying.
The sights you see along these windy - and often rough - secondary roads are like little reminders to what life used to be. It's hard to imagine getting by without highways and I certainly would not want to find out, but a slow trip down a rough stretch of two lane blacktop (or gravel) is good for the soul. You see the tattered remains of country stores, farms, and old school houses. You see mile after mile of long since rotted fence posts being choked to death by honeysuckle or brier. And of course you see tons of rust - cars, trucks, tractors. etc. They long ago stopped being useful but still they hang on, stubbornly clinging to the past. I am a big fan of the rust.
I never roll down my window on the interstate. There is just too much noise and fumes to find any pleasure in inviting the outside in, but even on cool days I have to put the window down when I'm on country roads. To me, that completes the experience. Of course on those warm, sticky summer days the unmistakable aroma of a cow pasture or pig farm can be a rude intruder to the interior of your car but that is all part of the journey.
These old roads are a good place to work out a lot of life's more perplexing problems. It is easier and far more peaceful to ponder great concerns when you're not bumper to bumper at 75 mph with a road full of aggressive and often angry motorists. As citizens of the South, we live in a part of the world that is rich in history and simple beauty. So I strongly suggest whenever you have the time to spare, veer off the superhighway and ease your way down memory lane. Sure, you will get home a little later but you are almost certain to be in a great mood when you do arrive.
Old South Art is a producer of original artwork, focusing on southern themes. We are based in Central Virginia and are developing images from this great state as well as our neighboring southern states. The map renderings are offered as an artist's viewpoint, and while they are accurately drawn, they are not intended for navigational purposes.
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