Archive for April, 2011

In preparation for our upcoming Road Trip Adventure I have started reading travel books.

At the moment I’m 111 pages into William Least Heat-Moon’s Blue Highways: A Journey Into America.

The foreword:

On the old highway maps of America, the main routes were red and the back roads blue. Now even the colors are changing. But in those brevities just before dawn and a little after dusk – times neither day nor night – the old roads return to the sky some of its color. Then, in truth, they carry a mysterious cast of blue, and it’s that time when the pull of the blue highway is strongest, when the open road is a beckoning, a strangeness, a place where a man can lose himself.

If that paragraph doesn’t make you want to pick up a copy of the book then I am afraid the rest of my post will bore you. So far I am in love. Blue Highways is fascinating and informative and, at times, painful, but also irresistible.

Would you like further incentive?

Page 33

While I ate buttermilk pie, [Thurmond] Watts served as disc jockey of Nameless, Tennessee. “Here’s ‘Mountain Rose.'” It was one of those moments that you know at the time will stay with you to the grave; the sweet pie, the gaunt man playing the old music, the coals in the stove glowing orange, the scent of kerosene and hot bread. “Here’s ‘Evening Rhapsody.'” The music was so heavily romantic we both laughed. I thought: It is for this I have come.

Page 70

“Nothin’ in that water but water. Be comin’ up from four hundred feet, gettin’ cleaned all the way down and all the way back up. Natural wells used to be all over here, but them new, drilled wells dried up the othern. But this one, he be too deep.” The man closed the trunk and helped his wife into the car. “Government man come round and say he’d drill a well by the house. I tole him all we’d do with it was flush a water toilet, and we got no water toilet. I says ‘How that water gone get up to me?’ He say with a lectric pump. I says ‘We drinks water what come up of his own mind.'”

When I went back for more, the water pressure shifted, answering some change in the aquifer deep below. I wondered how old the water was, how long it had taken to get down and back up. I’ve never drunk glacier water from snows that fell a thousand years ago, but I couldn’t imagine it being any better than the South Carolina water what come up of his own mind.

I have been swept in. I couldn’t put this book down if I wanted to. I bought it from Amazon second-hand and it shipped to me from America but I guarantee it’s going right back over the ocean with me in May.

William Least Heat-Moon’s circular route around the country shares not one location with our own planned journey, although we do cross his path twice. Regardless, I think I will find this an indispensable accompaniment to our trip – if only to remind me what we should be doing. We are not taking the old blue highways – we simply don’t have the time, but that doesn’t mean we have to lose sight of the real experience. We may not stop and have dinner with strangers in a small town called Nameless, but the idea of it should still be there.

As I said, I am only on page 111. I will let you know when I get to the end and what my views are then.


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On Sunday morning I rose very early and spent the morning in the back garden waiting for the sunrise to catch me. We’re southern exposure but there are houses directly behind ours, so the sun needs to be truly risen before it shines directly on our small patch of land. I love watching its progress as the bright line of promised warmth creeps down the back of the house and across the yard inch by inch.

I sat on the patio listening to birdsong, warming my hands on my coffee cup, reading a book which I am enjoying immensely and feeling generally contented. The simple joy of the morning stayed with me all day.

It reminded me of a similar morning, September two years ago – we had just moved into our house and I had baked an apple cake to celebrate our new oven. The Saturday of that distant weekend I sat on the back step with my apple cake, my coffee and my fiancé (now my Mr!) waiting for the sun to burn the mist out of the morning sky.

Morning has always been my favourite time of day and Sunday’s was wonderful.

Slow down and enjoy your next weekend morning. Brew the expensive coffee you keep in the freezer for when company comes. Have some cake or your favourite muffins. Take that book off the shelf; you know the one with the spine so bent from use it opens to the best part automatically, and sit down to read it again. Leave the laundry. Leave the dishes. Leave the radio off.

Just sit.

Trust me, it’s worth it.


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