Every stretch of road
“A route differs from a road not only because it is solely intended for vehicles, but also because it is merely a line that connects one point with another…A road is a tribute to space. Every stretch of road has meaning in itself and invites us to stop.”
– Milan Kundera
With only a week to drive from the west coast to the east, there was very little to tempt us to visit places such as Delle, Utah when we moved from California to Virginia in August 2004. The heat alone was enough to dissuade us from stopping. However, I agree with Kundera that every stretch of road has its own meaning. And who knows what we may have missed by driving quickly through?
In reality, life is simply too short, and the demands of living too intense, to allow us to explore every stretch of road we travel. Through sheer necessity, we will use them as routes more far often than we will be able to wander along them as pathways.
But once in awhile, life throws us a curve ball and we get stuck in a place we didn’t intend to stay. Whether it’s a car breakdown that grounds us for a few hours, extreme weather that stops us for a few days, or a temporary job assignment that ends up taking weeks or months longer than we expected, a discoverer’s mindset can lessen the frustration of detours and delays.
Next time you find yourself with more hours than you care to have in any particular place, remember Kundera’s thoughts. If your route unexpectedly becomes a road inviting you to stop, take advantage of whatever hospitality you can find. Take out your camera (if you have one with you) and ramble a bit. You may never again see that particular spot of the planet in quite the same way.
One year ago today