Taking other ways

The bridge _gathers _the earth as landscape around the stream -- Heidegger
The bridge on our road is gone.  It was the last of a historic type of bridge built in this area--single lane, made of concrete with two great arcs.  I read in the paper that it was constructed in 1898 for $200.  They removed it in one day, and will spend the next six months constructing a new one.  I don't mean to sound nostalgic, as I'll not miss having to negotiate with traffic every time I approached it (they had a yield sign on both sides, making it impossible for anyone to know who had the right of way).

While they do, we have taken to finding other ways.  Intersecting the many farms and forests around us, there are so many side-roads, lines, and unnamed paths.  As we've explored them, I've thought a lot about Thoreau's statement in Walking that one can never fully know or exhaust an area of 10 miles around his/her house.

Yesterday, as I drove a few dirt roads I've not been on before, I was also reminded of my time in North Carolina.  As my cab driver left the airport and headed toward the hotel, I was amazed at the trees that lined the road.  At one point I couldn't take it anymore, and commented to him how beautiful they were.  "The trees?  They get monotonous." His unwillingness to see what was there, even (and especially) if it is always there, struck me: I was a tourist, and clearly these trees were novel.  However, when I am home, I am intentional about seeing what is there, and enjoying what is common along with what is rare.

In the car that day, the driver didn't see a doe with its two fawns eating grass, both still showing white spots on their backs.  Similarly, had I not been looking yesterday as I drove past yet another field of cows, I likely wouldn't have noticed the Zebra grazing in the midst of them.

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