Wednesday, August 10, 2016
A drive through the New York countryside today turned into an alternate reality experience. I was transported into another world; another time. A simpler time.
There were no signs of modernity with the exception of an occasional passing car. No billboards, no gas stations, no hideous strip malls or manufactured landscaping. No fast food joints or liquor stores. Just farms and farm land for miles. Tractors dallying down the road, wild flowers as far back as the horizon, cows and sheep seemingly content, grazing upon the deep green grass. Silos surrounded by dreamlike clouds, and those picturesque giant weeping willows blowing, almost in slow motion, in the warm August breeze. It felt surreal and completely wonderful (full of wonder) at once to be driving by these scenes on a perfect summer day. Snap shots of a different way of living.
Suddenly, as if emerging out of the late-day sun, an old truck appeared in front of me. It drove lazily down the dusty road, past silos, corn fields, and barking dogs. I didn't mind the slower speed at all. I enjoyed the scenery at a more easy-going pace. I thought "this is how fast cars should drive" (Monet apparently felt the same). I noticed a hand and an arm resting out of the driver's side window. It was a slightly weathered and sun loving hand and an arm that appeared to have done many years of physical labor. I contemplated that limb for a moment. I wondered what it had been through in its years on this amazing Earth. Perhaps, I mused, it was a hand that had wiped many a tear off of saddened faces, a hand that had punched men in the face out of sheer necessity or loyalty to another, one that had held much smaller hands while crossing the street. Maybe the golden brown arm had sat through hours of little league baseball games, wrapped around the one person in the world who understood the man attached to it. A hand that dug, planted, and picked many a summer harvest. An arm who latched arms with an ailing old woman as she walked across her family's land for the final time. Definitely a hand and arm that had worked on an old truck into the late night hours.
While lost in these fantastical thoughts, an intense desire suddenly came over me. I wanted to know the man attached to this arm; this hand. I wanted to hop in his truck, go to his farm, and share some conversation over a cold brew. I longed to be held by those weathered hands and that strong arm. I wanted to feel safe and at home; to be known by this honorable person. I wanted a simpler life during a simpler time.
The hand waved for me to pass. A slow, meaningful wave. A wave filled with good intentions and chivalry. I, however, did not want to pass. I wanted to follow the man slowly driving an old truck through the countryside at dusk forever. Forever at this pace, at this exact moment. As I passed by I looked over hoping to catch a glimpse of a face, but it was blocked from my view...by the setting sun.