Discern is an old-fashioned word that means to distinguish or become aware of. The roads ahead are those we traverse daily—unaware discernment is required. Perhaps like those roads below.
Is it Road 52-C in rural Iowa covered in rust-red powdery earth that billows from the underside of Farmer Abel’s truck? The corn fields await harvest and Farmer Abel grows old.
Or a paved snowbound road in Bismarck, North Dakota: Closed! January had waited impatiently for that first Canadian cold front to take shape. When it did she blew hard southward.
There is the learning-a-lesson road that can be immediate; painfully long; velvety smooth, or rough with jagged peril.
Some roads wind soothingly, like the steady flow of the Volga River. But on-shore male Russian hawkers display their wares. They sell with their eyes: gentle, pleading and threatening. You are pursued from one wooden stall to another; at least until you say nyet.
The Yellow Brick Road in the Land of Oz is wrought with flying monkeys; the Horse of a Different Color; Wizards; Scarecrow; Tin Man, and Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers. And, lest we forget: the Good and Wicked Witches and the Munchkins. But Dorothy’s toll road taught her it wasn’t her slippers that held the power of place. It was her discernment that led directly home.