This lonely two-lane unrolls beneath the furrowed sky, feeling as something long lost out of time. It recalls so clearly another road from long ago—decades and half a thousand miles removed. But here and now, it is a cold grey sky that drops sleet from time to time in desultory fashion: then and there it was thick heavy air charged with the long day’s heat, wrapped casually like a snake around the inevitable thought of a storm.
Before, beyond or beside the interstate, the road creeps inconspicuously, hidden behind the long rolls of hill. It runs direct on the literal verge of people’s daily life, right up to the point where public becomes private, personal becomes universal—no margin, no transition. Yellow line, white line, clothesline.
Retrograde—to the right run the mountains, and along them most certainly runs a path even less dramatic than this little road. It may be an animal path, a foot path or a dirt trail. But they nest this way—path, trail, two-lane road, U.S. Highway, Interstate Highway, and a railroad nestled in there someplace—a veritable Matrushka doll of transportation options, largest to smallest.
I choose the middle way, and it suits me well in this moment of—being lost. I have more time on my hands than I have thoughts to fill it. The slow road serves me.
I have traversed this road at least once before, though certainly not much more than that. We rode northward from the deep furrowed Alleghenies towards and through Winchester on Beast, many years ago. It is a faint recollection, run backwards as though rewinding a movie, with certain junctions clearly recalled and many miles faint and vague. It amuses me to note that I am slowly drifting westward, away from the heart of the valley (and my eventual destination) towards its western boundary.
In reality, I have overshot my destination by many miles in a wide circle, and I end up approaching it from the opposite direction. No matter. I have nowhere to be, nothing to do. And still I arrive too early.