This past weekend, I took a solo trip to visit my family in Knoxville, Tennessee. I left after my morning class on Thursday, eager to get on the road. There was no appointment to rush to, but I rushed anyway. Gotta make good time! GPS running, I watched the bottom right hand corner as minutes dropped off of my arrival time. I sped through a drive-thru for lunch, precariously balancing barbeque sauce and chicken fingers on my car’s console. You can’t waste time going in to eat! As I hit the lonely stretch of road after Chattanooga heading north to Knoxville, I approached a bend in the road and was greeted by glaring red tail lights. Gridlock. Seeing no end to the mess in sight, I quickly took the next exit and punched in a detour on my navigation. Thirty minutes added to my time, but at least I was moving. For a mile or two, that is. Turns out, everyone else had the same idea, and we crept, bumper to bumper, through the quiet outskirts of a town certainly unused to this much attention. I probably would have fared better sticking it out on the interstate.
However, I had somewhat of an epiphany, sitting alone in my car on a blazing day with the AC pumping. In that town that I first cursed for having a 25 mph speed limit, I saw an absolutely beautiful landscape. The small road I was on stretched over the Tennessee River, and as I crossed, I saw a picturesque old railroad bridge spanning the water below, casting a beautiful reflection into the murky blue water. Banks of lush green trees framed the view. This quaint little town sat nestled right at the edge of a powerful, beautiful river. I saw an older couple sitting outside at a downtown café, chatting amicably, no doubt watching the horde of cars invade their little town and reminiscing on times past. My frustration melted as I took in the sights.
Why are we always rushing, even when we have nowhere to be? Why can’t we take a detour every now and then, stop to get some lunch, chat with a stranger? Perhaps it’s the wannabe photographer in me, but I was moved by that scene of an ancient bridge looming over a sleepy town. Isn’t that the beauty of it all, being moved by a scene that tugs at your soul? From that point on, I did not regret my change in course. I simply basked in the pleasure of it, knowing this is something I would never have seen if I did not get derailed. My only regret is that I didn’t stop to take a picture.
[As seen in Today in Peachtree City :) ]