I love driving in the country, especially at night. I take every opportunity I can to drive the county roads back from deliveries.
I've always had a bit of wanderlust. I probably got it from my parents. I remember them taking long drives at night with me and my sister in the backseat of the Colt. The seats smelled like old french fries and I could feel the waxy film of melted crayons when I lay down in the middle (a privelage me and my sister mercilessly fought over until finally we agreed to share some uncomfortable reverse-spooning arrangement). While we were in North Carolina we would drive past a Krispy Kreme (before they were a national chain and always had hot donuts) and hope that there were hot donuts. If there were we'd almost always stop for a dozen. The box would be so hot that it would burn my lap, but we still didn't wait to try to eat them.
In highschool I spent a summer where my then-boyfriend was away at Morman Church Camp. I kept my teenage hormones in check by driving back and forth from my town to two towns down. Sometimes I'd take a turn onto a County Road at random. Those roads are some of the roads I drive with familiarity now, but at the time they were random, they were dark, they were mystious and peaceful. I had no idea where I'd end up. I would spend hours parked on one particular low-water crossing. It's still my favorite place though I lost it for a while and it didn't dawn on me until months after I started delivering that this was the place, the magical place where my mind is at peace.
I have several such low-water crossings now. When I'm feeling overwhelmed I hop in the car and drive the backroads. I look at the black silhoette of trees, the glimmer of moonlight off a nearly dry creek, the flash of movement when I startle a rabbit. It all calls to me. It all makes me want to forsake humanity and wander the woods.
At the same time, the driving helps me sort through all of that. I leave it all on the road. I am in a place with no judgment or anxiety. A calm peaceful place. If there's someone with me, it's because I want them to be and I trust them to see me that vulnerable.
This job has given me an opportunity to gain familiarity with the roads that I love most, to learn their twists and bends. They are old friends that I trust to be there in the middle of the night. I am grateful for that because at night I'm able to immerse myself in the indescribable beauty around me over and over again. To still be in awe of the familiar is...