Sunday, May 9, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 128

Taken: May 8, 2010, approx. 2:30 p.m.
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

When we first moved up to Healdsburg, we lived at the end of an almost three-mile road that started out paved and then turned into a mix of gravel and dirt, winding in a single lane of climbs and switch backs and ending at the house we rented. It was a 20-minute trip from driveway to the bottom of the road (and the mailbox) which pretty much made spontaneous trips to the supermarket a real drag.

Sometimes we would go for days -- and in stretches of really bad weather as long as a week -- without going into town. It was a beautiful spot, the last place at the very end of the road and for awhile, we loved being there. I didn't think we'd find a place near town that would have the same "end of the line" feel, but we did and frankly, I'm loving being five minutes from the center of things now. Part of me wishes we had moved sooner.

That road was a big deal for us during the time we lived off of it. It defined us, a living metaphor for the change we made in our lives -- trading in the city of Angels for an angelic piece of wine country. Every one of our city friends who came to visit had to navigate this road on their way to see us -- and every one of them was awed and maybe a little frightened by it. Halfway up was more than enough to understand how far we'd come -- literaly and figuratively. More than a few pulled into our driveway breathless. And they were the ones who drove it during the day.

I had a love/hate relationship with it.

I hated what the bumps and turns did to my car, the dust that it kicked up, the time-suck of having to travel it every day, how every plan we made had to start 20 minutes early so we could be on time. But I loved the way it snaked through a thick cover of trees, how broken light would shine through the tops of the branches in the Magic Hour, the sound of the gravel under my tires, the sightings of quail and deer and occasional rattlesnakes.

Still, I'm glad to be done with it, happy as hell it's in my past and maybe even a little proud that we had the balls to actually live on it. When we gave up city life for the country, we really gave up city life for the country.

I was on that old road today for the first time since we left. Unfortunately, some circumstances of our move have left a bad taste in my mouth and being there brought me some anxiety. But it wasn't all bad. I went up it to see our old neighbors -- and by neighbors, I mean they were nearly a quarter-mile down the road from us -- who were having a party. It was lovely to be there and I'm thrilled that I still knew how to navigate the road, remembered the general location of most the bumps and potholes, the familiarity of its turns and sights. The day was lovely, the view from the top was as clear as I can remember -- the recent rains painted the valley floor a deep green -- and it was wonderful to see my friends' place again. But I think the thrill of the drive is gone now. A mountain climbed, a tough task accomplished, been down that road, done that.

I think for awhile that road was our identity, our way of saying "look what we did it!" As seamless as it was to adjust to life here, it was still a really big move for us and I'm not sure we quite appreciate it, then or now. But having that crazy road between us and the rest of the world was our calling card. We almost needed it to prove we had made it here. I realized today we don't need it anymore. Maybe we never did.

Funny how that works, how the roads we travel, both real and imagined, can feel so vital and important for so long until one day they're just not anymore. Another stop along the way, something else to conquer always out there, waiting around that s-curve.

Today's shot is of my ex-neighbor Kathleen's roses. Shot it with my K100D and edited lightly in Photoshop.

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