By N.A. Booko
Pittsboro, NC – It had been missed. I hadn’t done it in a while. It is strange how many ‘important’ things can keep you from doing ‘important’ things. It was a sunny afternoon today; temps in the moderate range and the humidity manageable. I hadn’t prepared myself for the tremendous brush and small tree growth on the trip there.
There were plenty of spider webs at every turn. Sticky for sure. Periwinkle that escaped years ago formed an even sea of small round shiny leaves. They tried their entangling best to trip me, but I was on to them. Too many years of battling this beautiful pest has made me smarter. Kick slightly as you walk thru periwinkle colonies and you will break those little overlapping vines that trip.
My favorite ditch looked different. Sure, it was the same spot, nature has a way of sprucing up her natural settings. Broken and rotted limbs covered the ‘couch’, but i knew it was the place. Who would have thought a side ditch of an old highway* could become a therapeutic back cradle?
Only a teenie-bopper could quickly fling their limber body into a ditch and be ready to feel the gentle pull of the earth. It took me a while to contort the old body into a therapeutic position. Once there, I could feel the immediate pull of the earth. It is hard to explain, but it is there. I was looking straight up- Somehow the trees looked shorter- only because some, like the sweet gum, had formed leafy limbs closer to the ground.
A large tall pine to my left now appeared to be growing on an angle; but only because I was looking directly up and things lose perspective. The bright blue sky, more than half obscured by the dense foliage, sparkled like jewels. I had always in the past kept my arms to my sides or crossed on my chest but this day I held them straight up, parallel with the trees; my fingers spread open a wide as I could manage. The un-explainable; the ‘pull’ and the connection. Exhilarating!
PS – I own a portion of old highway 64. Built in 1926 and abandoned about 1941-42. Complete with culverts and ditches.