“Consider Alternate Route”


Morning Commute

One morning on my way into town a yellow Mustang convertible pulled in front of me in heavy traffic.  As we slowed to a crawl I saw the driver’s blonde hair blowing in the wind and she brushed it back as it flew around her sunglasses.  From what I could see as she passed me she looked to be in her late forties, attractive, and confident.  I don’t know why I think she was confident, except a car like that seems to give that impression.
I had plenty of time to stare at that car, and I began to imagine what it would be like to drive it for a while, to exchange it for my not-so-cool mini-van just for one day.
And then the sign ahead of us came into view.  I took out my camera and got this shot.  “Consider Alt Route” flashed in turns with the rest of the message of a closure ahead.  I thought, yes, I would like to consider an alternate route.  And I want to be driving THAT car.
What route would I take?  I would challenge the speed limits I’m sure, because why drive a fun car if you can’t enjoy how it performs on the highway?  I think I would head for the least crowded place I know.  Some place where there are few cars, plenty of trees, trails, a lake, and some fresh air.
I would spend the day exploring, listening to birds and the wind and water flapping against the lake shore.   If I got tired of walking and taking pictures, I would find the nearest small town and look for a farm stand.  If they had  blackberries I would buy a pint and eat them right there.  I would take deep breaths, walk slowly, sit on a bench and resist the urge to check the email on my cell phone.   I would try to be “in the moment” as the wellness gurus suggest.
It occurred to me that the woman in the yellow Mustang might be wishing for an alternate route too.  While I was imagining what it was like to be her, she might be imagining her own “alternate route.”
We tend to think other peoples lives are more interesting than ours.  But sometimes an alternate route is nothing more than a detour.  A longer way to the same place.
The traffic thinned and the blonde in the yellow Mustang pulled into the next lane and sped away.   It wasn’t clear why the traffic had been backed up, but now that we were moving again my mind also moved on.   My thoughts shifted to the agenda for the day, and before I knew it I was at my destination.   Stepping out of the van, I decided that I will plan that time at the lake anyway.  Maybe not this weekend, but before the leaves fall again and drain the color from the landscape.   I think it can be healthy to take an alternate route every now and then.
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