A Drive in the Country

I’ve been busy this morning. But as I finished up with the project I was working on, and got ready to dive into writing, I remembered that I needed to blog! I have a really good series planned, in conjunction with the First Reader – we laid it out and talked it through during a long rambling drive through the countryside of Ohio yesterday. But it will need some time to gel, and research. So it will appear later this week. Today?

Well, I’ve been thinking. I’m not a writer of controversy. I avoid politics like the plague. I consider myself apolitical, in the first place. Which does not, by the way, mean that I abrogate my right to vote. No, I’m there in the voting booth for every election, large and small. I keep up with some candidates, and try my best to be an informed voter. But I’m not locked into a party, because I consider them all equally bad. Any career politician is tainted. Sorry – I’m sure that ‘your guy’ is the best EVAH! and would never dream of compromising the values you elected him for, just for another taste of sweet, sweet power. I too would like to find a principled man (and don’t be a jerk – man in this context means male, female, or what-have-you. I’ve got a pretty strong grasp of the English language.) but alas, in any political system this isn’t going to happen. You swim in the cesspool, you’re going to stink.

So I don’t write about politics. It’s not my thing. I hold my nose and vote, but I’m not going to attempt to use reason to convince other people to use reason too. That dog don’t hunt. People in  – and yes, this is a sweeping generalization – the large part don’t think, they react based on emotion. Not always a bad survival trait. Someone swings at you, you duck, you don’t take the time to calculate the trajectory and estimate the force of the blow (pardon me, sir, but how much do you mass?), you get out of the way first and think later. This is not the attitude we need when choosing a president, however. But I’m one woman. And I’m far too logical for the American political process – and I’m no great logician.

Instead, I write about silly things like a drive on a sunny day and the photos I took to capture what I saw. In that, I don’t always verbalize my thoughts, but here’s the thing. As we drive, we talk. That’s relationship building. At home, we sit at our computers and sometimes chat online even though we’re in the same room (granted, we know that’s silly, and there are usually other people involved in the chats). In the car, it’s just us. And we have time to talk, and minimal distractions. It’s terrific for discussing plans, goals, and what we’re writing. I highly recommend it for any married couple. I know, you don’t have time. Make time. Even if it’s just to the grocery once a week. Lock down some time just you and your spouse, and shut the rest of the world out. You need that after marriage, and especially after kids, who are the greatest distractions God grants us (yes, yes… grant can be switched out for inflict some days. But overall, it’s a gift).

That’s not all the drive can give me. Some of the things I pick up are not what others would look for – plant identification and a sense of the season (corn planting time, strawberries aren’t quite ripe, and so on) is probably not a mainstream observation. But there are other things. The economy, say, as I come back perilously close to politics. We were out for a drive on a sunny holiday. People were out playing. We looked at gas prices, at half-empty parking lots where the boats put into the river, at a restaurant that was all but empty. We saw little traffic on the road – no more than a regular Saturday. We saw folks having bbqs in the backyard. I read between the lines to see people tightening belts and staying home to have a more modest holiday.

But perhaps the biggest thing I brought home was a happy heart and full soul from the beauty of our surroundings. I look for the beautiful in everything around me, all the time, and I have been able to travel through or live in some of the loveliest places in the world. I always look forward to traveling and seeing more, but for now, I am content with where I am. With the lush green and blue skies of the Ohio River Valley. I can think about the pioneers, who pushed onward from rocky, harsh New England farms where the bones of the Earth protrude through the soil and break the spirits of men on their spines. This must have been a paradise to them.

Picture-postcard surroundings
Picture-postcard surroundings