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Odes

Ode to Driving Winding Roads

Driving winding roads usually means the terrain is complex. Complex terrain is usually very interesting and very beautiful. Thus, driving winding roads usually means there is something neat to look at. This also means they are probably more dangerous as far as being in the car with me because I am often looking at the interesting things, but I promise I watch the road a lot too. The thing about driving a winding road is that it usually provides neat views straight ahead of you where you can both look at the road and appreciate the giant mountain or canyon you are tracing your way around anyway. You get momentary interruptions of WOW and AWE in the midst of an interesting drive. The drive itself on the road without any views is interesting too. The weaves and zigs of the road create an element of adrenaline and expectation for the next surprise. Your mind goes to a heightened state of awareness because each turn is a mystery. Will there be another turn? Will this one keep going? Will you come upon a wild animal? Another car? A stunning new side canyon or waterfall? The speed of the car lets you find out quickly, but the anticipation is almost heightened because of the acceleration. At the same time, there is almost a meditation involved with driving a winding road. You come to a state where each twist and turn is a soothing sensation on the mind. You feel at ease as you sweep gracefully around each curve, almost as though you are in flight. The turns do not stay level, but (if the road is well engineered) they rise in a slope to keep you safely on the road and moving smoothly through the turn. You feel the rise and fall of the terrain that much more acutely, and you can have peace in the safety that you experience. You can drive quickly or slowly to your personality; though, I would encourage you to let cars behind you pass if you are in the slow category. As you wander along, you can stop at turn outs to find a chance of a more intimate view of whatever you are passing through. You can take a picture, have a snack, or take a nap. The occasion for taking a winding road is rarely one of urgent need. For that, there are freeways and short cuts. The winding road is that which John Denver put into his song “Country Roads”. Winding, scenic roads are for the spare time, for touring, for getting a little more out of the beautiful locations in which you live. You have either a once in a lifetime chance to experience a piece of the world’s splendor, or you have the chance to truly appreciate and say, “And we live here.”