This weekend, I drove all the way across Virginia, west to east. I drove alone, on Route 460, a narrow ribbon of country road that sometimes seems to roll on forever — out of the mountains and into the hills, past sleepy farms where cows graze, their coats gleaming like black satin.
Since I was behind the wheel, I couldn’t exactly take a lot of photos. And they say a picture is worth a thousand words, but — I promise — I can give you a dozen pictures in half that space.
Just watch me try:
Outside of Bedford, a rusted windmill turns slow in the sun.
In the town of Crewe, a decommissioned army tank stands guard over a brick ranch house.
Near Farmville, a man walks along the edge of the road in the hundred-degree heat, his bald head glistening. He walks against the traffic, his face set in such a way that you know he doesn’t want a lift.
I drive on.
I drive past a hundred white steeples, past houses where you can go to have your hair curled or your palms read.
I drive through long swaths of land where the only music on the radio is country music, and Johnny Cash floods the inside of my car with stories of all the places he’s been when he, too, was on the road.
I flash pass cornfields yellow-tasseled and ready for harvest, grain silos with tops domed like Greek temples, winking silver in the light. I pass a van with a child’s small arm thrust straight from the passenger window, the wind lifting the airfoil of that tiny hand into tentative flight.
I take the ramp onto 85 near Richmond and look up to see a dozen tiny skydivers hanging suspended from their parachutes, silhouetted in the sunset, gliding down slow.
And then, at last, in the purple dusk I feel the XTerra lift onto the familiar arc of the High Rise Bridge, turn my head left to see the City of Norfolk twinkling like its own constellation against the black of the harbor. I smile, thinking of my years in that city when I was young and on my own for the very first time, becoming what I’d be later — my soul flickering alive little by little, like city lights.
Then the bridge lowers me down again and I skim out onto a tidal marsh called Chesapeake — the closest thing I have to a Homeplace.
And I could keep going; I really could. But I swear, if you gave me another five-hundred words, I’d just keep multiplying ways to tell you how much goodness is rushing past us by the moment.
How it belongs to each and every one of us with stubborn hearts hungry to see. ❤