Will I see what I write or write what I see?
Is it Road 52-C in rural Iowa, covered in rust-red powdery earth that billows from beneath the dented fenders on farmer Abel’s truck as he drives to his corn fields?
Or a paved snowbound road in Bismarck, North Dakota: closed! January had waited, impatiently, for the first Canadian cold front of the season to take shape. It blew hard southward; the land was satisfied.
The Yellow Brick Road in the Land of Oz was fraught with flying monkeys, the Horse of a Different Color, a Wizard, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Dorothy’s ruby slippers. And, lest we forget: the good and wicked witches and the Munchkins. Dorothy’s toll road taught her it wasn’t her slippers that held the power of place. It was her intent to be there that led directly home.
The learning-a-lesson road can be immediate or painfully long, velvety smooth or jagged with peril.
Some roads wind soothingly, like the steady flowing motion of the Volga River where on-shore Russian hawkers, male, display their wares along a winding road. They sell with their eyes: gentle, pleading and threatening. You are pursued from one wooden stall to another, at least until you say no-het (net) enough times to get your message across.
Maybe there’s a favorite road you drive down: the first time by accident. The second time: intentional. Something draws you; even if you can’t identify it.
There was a narrow earthen road I parked alongside, so long ago. It was there that my English grandmother, dressed all in black, her starched white apron blowing in the wind waited.
In the end, there is one road we all wish we could forever find: that of our ancestry. A narrative, fashioned by those who came before, that imprinted our destiny.
I write, it appears, in order to see!