Nearly every road I drive is under construction – all of them widening. Even the finally-finished six-lane is adding a turning lane into one of the many new sets of apartments. I’m not really complaining – that new road cut twenty minutes off my morning commute and about thirty off the afternoon. And they are making them look as nice as possible these days – lots of landscaping and bricks laid in a zig-zag pattern instead of painted crosswalks.
But I miss the trees. And the cows. There was a house off to the right as I’m driving home
[Mid-thought rant — Will I NEVER lean the compass here? Why is it so hard to learn my east from my southwest? I come from a coastal state. I was always aware of where the water was and that’s SOUTH – take it from there. Here, I have been on Southbound Something, turned left, and found myself on Southbound Somethingelse! How is that even POSSIBLE?!? End rant.]
that sat back off the road. There was a pond just off the road and they had cows. Just a few and the pretty ones, as cows go. I loved coming home on a hot day and finding one or two of them standing in the water, just their heads showing, the others looking on. I wasn’t sure if they were cowardly or simply waiting their turn. Sometimes they would be clustered on the drive just inside the gate, as if waiting for their people to come home. I was tempted to sit and wait to watch the fun when the homeowner tried to pull in.
But of course I’m in too much of a hurry for that. I go speeding by on my one of six lanes and even if the cows were still there, I doubt I’d notice.
We’re getting a fancy new bridge over our portion of the lake too. I understand all the science – economic and physical – that make that a necessary change. The old bridge just wasn’t safe any longer and it was too low and too narrow. So now we have high and fancy and I no longer have to hug right halfway over because of that especially bad hole that I hit once and never forgot again, and I no longer see boys and old men walking carefully along the edge, fishing poles and buckets at their sides, and because of the pretty and code-acceptable concrete rails, I can no longer see the water or boats as I go over.
I’m not really complaining. It’s a necessary change. Inevitable really. I’m sure I’ll grow to love the new and improved routes and overpasses. And surely there’s something, some other life to be noticed, to be seen. The trick, I think – the KEY – is to look. “Pay attention to the beauty surrounding you,” Anne Lamott says and to which I would add, “whether it be a cow, a boy with a fishing pole, or perhaps even the sound of the car’s tires as they cross over those zig-zagged bricks.”