Road Report

Tess hopped over the threshold and out into the semi-dark dawn, scampering through the snow and into the yard. I couldn’t tell if it was still snowing or if the wind was just blowing snow off the roof and into my line of vision, but I could tell the driveway was covered back over despite being shoveled out the night before.Snow falling in early morning - seen in porch light above rhododendron bush

It was just before six o’clock and I needed to be on the road by a little after seven – heading for a meeting in our state’s capitol city. The drive normally takes between two and two-and-a-half hours. But with snow and ice on the roads, it would take longer.

I drive a Honda Fit. Sometimes getting down OFF our hill is manageable – but getting back UP the hill can be a nonstarter. And if all the roads looked like the one in front of our house… should I venture out and possibly get stuck? Judging solely on what I could see from our front porch, the roads were going to be challenging.

After Tess finished her business and we hustled back inside, I fired up the computer and started looking for road condition reports online. Those indicated the interstates were in “fair” condition with some snow and ice.

I determined I should give it a go.

While I showered, dressed, and gathered my meeting materials, my husband shoveled the driveway. I loaded in a pair of boots, extra bulky coat, hat, gloves, and a blanket; a few bottles of water and some granola bar type snacks; my iPod of music and podcasts; a shovel; and a travel mug of coffee.

Travel Mug in holder to let of steering wheel.

Ready or not…it was time to hit the road.

I managed to get out of our driveway; down the two steep neighborhood hills to a county road; out onto a city street; and then onto a state two lane highway. The roads were still snow covered but the Fit was handling them OK.

So far, so good.

Once I hit I-79, the roads weren’t too bad. I drove under the speed limit, but did not have to creep and slide along as I had feared.

Thank goodness I didn’t let the challenging landscape just outside my front door prevent me from venturing out into the world.

I ran through a couple of snow squalls along the way, but kept my hands on the wheel, my eyes on the road, and my mind on the task.

I arrived at my destination safely, participated in a productive meeting, enjoyed good fellowship with other committee members, and returned home later that day under blue skies. I even managed to make it back UP the hill, down our driveway, and into the garage.

Moral of the story: There are times in life when circumstances seem daunting and possibly intimidating. Based on what you can see right in front of you, you may ask yourself if you are ready for the journey. But with some effort and planning, you can often take yourself beyond the initial challenges and find yourself out on an open road.

(But it also pays to bring snacks. And coffee. Don’t forget the snacks and coffee.)

Winter-weather and salt crusted front grill for an orange Honda Fit


Five Minute Friday: Focus

(So, I’ve been participating in a “writers’ flash mob” of sorts called Five Minute Friday. In response to a one-word prompt, hundreds of writers sit down and write for five minutes flat. No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font or punctuation; unscripted and unedited. Here’s today’s edition…setting the timer….)

Five Minute Friday: Focus


Life was on auto-pilot.

We were cruising along in our chosen lane and maneuvering fairly well.

No head-on collisions or fender benders.

The occasional flat tire.

Sometimes a little low on gas.

But the journey was clipping along.

Until a warning light flashed on the dashboard and a full-on alarm sounded.

View of a car dashboard with lights for Cruise Control and some warnings

All righty then.

Time to focus.

Time to turn off the auto-pilot and take manual control.

Still no head-on collision or fender bender.

We are still on the road.

Time to consult the GPS and make sure we are heading in the direction we should go.

Maybe we can pause at that rest area up ahead and get our bearings.

Then we can put it back in drive and step on the gas.

We will get there.

And with auto-pilot disengaged, perhaps we will more fully appreciate the journey.

Now we are focused and paying attention.

Stop. Cruise control buttons on a steering wheel - CRUISE, RES/ACCEL, DECEL/SET, CANCEL

Comfort and Mystery

Looking out past an open car door toward a view of mountains - fading into the distance

I often need to look up and out for perspective.

Lucky for me I live in West Virginia – a “land of rolling mountains”…

There is nothing quite like the perspective I get from looking into the hills…especially when I can glimpse a series of hill tops as they fade off into the distance.

The ridges ripple away into the unknown, trailing into fainter and fainter shades of blue-green as they go.

As they fade, they evoke a sharp vision within my mind and soul.

They spark perspective.

A perspective of comfort and mystery, all in one.

I grew up in the West Virginia hills, so for me their presence is comforting.

Like getting a hug from the earth or being wrapped in a blanket.

I have traveled and lived abroad, so I know there is a world beyond that last ridge.

I’ve experienced some of it, but the world still holds mysteries for me. (Thank goodness!)

There are infinite new vistas to discover and explore.

Inevitably, when I look up and out at the hills, I drink in the sky as well.

I love looking at the sky – especially when days are coming or going.

Frosty February sunrise and orange sky over a neighborhood

Cloud stripes hover within subtle swatches of pink, orange, red, blue, and grey.

Quietly and boldly they proclaim that beauty comes in wisps of diverse gradation.

In the morning, the sun arrives from somewhere beyond those last faded hill tops.

I am comforted by its return.

In the evening, it journeys beyond where I am and what I know.

I am inspired to seek out that land of mystery.

Red-orange sunset with tree silhouettes