8.31.2008

Stops Along the Way #4: Case Road in Broome County

One’s first driving experiences have the potential of being tremendously profound. Raised in protective households, often in homes isolated even from their neighbors deep in the suburbs, for many young people driving is their first experience of being beyond the monolithic eyes of family and school. As I write this, I know that many readers imaginations will immediately turn to late-night parties, but I mean a type of liberation that is more subtle and more profound. It is the chance to experience the world on ones own terms.

A decade ago, soon after I received my license, I was driving home on an early summer evening up Case Road from Robinson Hill Road in the Town of Union (in Broome County). I was taking the long way home from some activity just because, well when you’re the driver you can do things like that and I wanted to savor the freedom of curves on dark country roads.

As I turned up Case Road, I was passing a pasture on my left and something made me stop. I pulled the car over on the shoulder by the ditch and got out. I looked out over the pasture and I remember the scene, it has been seared into my memory. Beyond the barbed wire fence, mist curled over the rough field (they’re never as level as a yard) and around the feet of sleeping cows. Beyond there was a dark line of trees and above that was an incredible yellow moon, one of the largest I have ever seen, hanging in the air. Sixteen year-olds rarely have the vocabulary of beauty and the mystical to properly describe such moments and even today I struggle to put it into words. I do know that the Romantic poets had a concept of the “sublime,” an experience with the nature that was not the loveliness and congeniality of beauty but instead the encounter with the empowering spirit of the world. It is not a pleasant experience, but a shaking one, something akin to the Old Testament prophet who hides from the Word of God.

While I can not now, and perhaps will never be able to, properly describe my experience on Case Road that night, I do know that whenever I pass that pasture—usually in the light of the day—I slow down for a moment and reflect.

-Jesse

Stops Along the Way, is a column created to highlight those places in the paths of our lives where we pause. These are the little spots in life where we rest for a moment, gain knowledge, joy or assistance before continuing upon our myriad of journeys. These places are not destinations in the proper sense of the word, but are the planned or unintented links in the chain that makes up a trip.

“Stops along the Way” celebrates the journey itself and hopes to call into question the goal-driven values that speed up and depersonalize our lives. Instead it promotes a view of life as a process—one in which we do not always have a goal in mind and never know the fully control the direction of.

To submit your Stops along the Way, please email us at york.staters (at) gmail (dot) com. Please feel free to visit our Mission Statement and Submission Guidelines with any of your questions. We look forward to hearing from you.

1 comment:

Joe said...

I think i might have driven to your house or brhel's on my first drive by myself. not quite as revelatory.