I live on the edge of a large City. When I drive to a movie or the shopping centre, there are two routes I can take. I can drive into town and take Main Street or I can drive out of town and take a dirt road through the conservation area.
Most people take Main Street. It is the most direct route. Lined with stores and apartment buildings, it is paved and smooth, well drained and well lit. It is the first road to be cleared and sanded in snowy weather. It is the fastest and most reliable route.
I always take the road through the conservation area. It winds through a forest and passes over a creek. It climbs steeply up and down the limestone escarpment that surrounds our City. It is frequently full of pot holes or rippled like a washboard. Its shoulders are often washed away after rain storms. There is one hairpin curve where it can be hard to pass an on-coming vehicle. It is often slippery in snowy weather and can get socked in with a thick, blinding fog.
This may be the less reliable route, but it brings me so much pleasure. With its steep hills and tight curves, it is fun to drive. In the summer, it is enveloped in greens where the leafy canopy creates an organic tunnel. At dusk, one can see Deer grazing in the open fields or catch a Fox or Raccoon at the side of the road. In the Spring, the night air is filled with the trills of courting frogs. In the fall, the large black Turkey Vultures congregate on the dead tree in the open field before the creek. All year long, the nights are dark on this route, creating a quiet hush in the midst of a bustling world.
I could take the main road. It would be faster, maybe safer, and certainly easier on my car. But I would miss the gifts offered by the road less travelled; the thrill of unexpected treats; the mystery touched in dark nights; the joy of emerald-green sunlight. As I drove through the road last night, my heart lifting as usual, I whispered to myself, “This I how I live my life” and chuckled as I recognized the pattern of my life in my choice of roads.