driving · Eye candy · Moments of Grace · Photography · This American Life · Travel

Colonial Parkway

I spent a day driving the Colonial Parkway today.

I had a car, hours in front of me, and a deep-seated desire to experience the Fall colors and crisp air, and the other-worldliness of the Parkway, all 23 miles of its winding curves with no stop lights or stop signs.

In my other trips to Williamsburg I had never realized quite how breathtaking this area is. I got an eyeful today. I got to see dozens of grazing deer, marshes and swamps, the York and James rivers…trees, squirrels. Heaven.

I got to drive for hours without stopping, without waiting at a light, without being angry, without speeding, without stressing. It was Los Angeles driving therapy. It was amazing. It was calming. It was regenerating. I must sound like a driving junkie, and I am. Living in the LA area, there was something inside me that needed to connect to driving in a way that was not insane, just so that I could remember this moment when I am stuck in rush hour traffic again in the near future. Just so I can call on the perfect memories of quiet and calm when someone next tries to kill me on the 110 through downtown or on the 405 exit to Wilshire East.

Today the biggest thing that happened to me was braking ever so gently for a slender grey deer, lightly stepping across the road, looking right, left, lifting each of its legs ever so carefully and bobbing its graceful neck with each tentative step. Once it was reassured the giant piece of machinery wasn’t moving forward, it looked straight ahead and took flight, leaping forward into the trees, leaving me gasping for air, moved.

I was listening to This American Life the whole way. The haunting stories in the  “Like it or not” episode floated through the scenery as an eerie and perfect background. I can still recall all the colorful stories and sounds of the stories about Alabama fish jubilee, pregnancy, passivity, car chases, clichés, bullies. It was bizarre and enjoyable, a quiet weird pleasant graceful moment. And my return into civilization:


6 thoughts on “Colonial Parkway

  1. Makes you want to move back to east coast. We lived in Jamestown, and there’s a beauty in the quiet winding roads. It’s deer season, and Bill hit one on his way to Pennsylvania, and the car was totalled. the road was dark, no one in sight, except the deer’s tracks. Bill thinks it was hit but got away, and the next week 7 cars were at the auto repair shop for rebuilding because of deer encounters. I do so love the east coast tho. Nice passage; hugs for now

  2. Lovely. You made me feel like I was driving along there myself. you are transendentalist for the modern age…in the woods but with the car. I miss fall.

  3. Boy, did you ever remind of me of the time I lived in Virginia…I thought that would be the place that I would live for ever. I have to let you know that I did encounter maniac drivers on the DC beltway : )

    I totally related to how you felt…there are those hard to find moments in one’s day or week or month when one suddenly becomes aware of goodness and happiness in the core

    Loved the piece and love you xx

    1. Thank you so much for putting it that way…It IS really hard to find moments where one becomes aware of goodness and happiness in our very core. I’ve been thinking about this so much lately.

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