The Road Less Traveled

I needed an image, so I grabbed my camera early one morning and headed out to explore.

Around Craryville it began to snow. I turned south and wandered down Sky Top Farm Road toward Copake. I've always liked that road, seems time stopped there in 1938, don't know why it just does and I like it. Roamed up to Austerlitz, to Spencertown, Harlemville, Ghent and on toward Claverack, stopping wherever I found a road that caught my eye and spurred me to exercise the shutter release. Then something said, "Turn here." I cranked the wheel. About two hundred yards down I stopped, got out and immortalized the image you at the top of this page.

Columbia County has always reminded me of the flat prairie farm country where I was born, more so when dairy farms were abundant; nobody who grew up in the city can truly appreciate the aroma of a cow barn, you have to grow up with it. The hills make the difference here, those beautiful rolling Columbia County hills.

I swung through a curve that topped a knoll and opened onto one of those magnificent vistas Frederic Church would have loved. Then down hill to an abrupt stop at a 'T' intersection. I turned right and passed an old logging road with possibilities. I hit the brakes, threw it into reverse and, maybe it was because I hadn't had my coffee yet, backed a bit too close to the rain soaked shoulder. Suddenly the vehicle was leaning at a forty-five degree angle, axle deep in mud.

Twenty minutes of maneuvering passed. Maybe it's a male thing that rates up there with never asking for directions, "Of course I can get this thing out, just give me a couple minutes." The next twenty minutes included crawling around in freezing ditch water, removing a large boulder jammed behind the front wheel; still the wheels remained firmly imbedded in mud, assistance was necessary. I pulled out the cell phone I keep just for such purposes. The LCD display informed me the battery was very low; power enough for one call, maybe. I called my friend Bill who had both a chain and a truck and lived about a mile away, said he'd be right there; then the phone's battery went dead.

As I walked back to photograph the logging road, a large extension cab pickup eased to a stop. The driver asked if I needed help. We chatted about my stupidity getting into this mess, had a good laugh and he asked, "Sure you'll be alright, don't need help?" I said I'd be fine and thanked him. He wished me luck and drove off. Not two minutes later a little red car pulled up. A woman, with a child in a car seat, rolled down her window, smiled and asked if I needed any assistance. I explained the situation and thanked her. She wished me well and drove on. When Bill arrived we spent more time with grief, he dishing it out and me taking it, than we did pulling the vehicle out of the mud, but that's the way it is with good friends. I told him I owed him a cup of coffee, he just grinned and headed home.

Interstate highways hurry us from Point A to Point B with little regard for what's in between. Getting there has taken precedence over the joy of the journey. It's those in-between places that interest me. Every other week we'll talk about people and places met on life's road, people like you, who possess great strength and simple wisdom, who allow life to touch your souls and in turn touch others; like the good people who stopped to help a perfect stranger stranded along a deserted roadside. You are the glue that holds this country together and the grease that keeps the wheels turning.

We'll find out what makes you laugh and cry, what makes life so grand for the living. I hope you'll make the time to slow down, take an excursion and become a regular traveler along with me.

We'll talk next time From The Road.


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