Roads More and Less Travelled


My commute to work takes me 15 to 30 minutes depending on the traffic. The traffic is its own entity with its own moods. I haven’t been able to figure out why some days it takes 15 minutes and other days it takes 30. I’m on a main road all of 1 minute. The rest of the drive is through neighborhoods. I’m trying to find a pattern. Was Tuesday busy because a bunch of people were headed to a weekly meeting somewhere? Was Wednesday slow because everyone on Tuesday decided to go another route on Wednesday because of all the traffic on Tuesday? Until I figure it out I will keep allowing myself 30 minutes to get to work. I’ll either be early or on time.

These are new roads for me. I’ve traded the freeways for 2 lane country roads. No more taking the 8, or the 94, or the 125. No more streets named after trees or fruits. Now I travel on Pikes and Parkways and old roads named for the cities they were destined for. No more passing malls and business parks. Now I pass by homes of all ages and sizes. Some situated close together and some surrounded by acres of pastures and trees.

One stretch of the road is narrow and the trees on either side create a semi canopy. It looks magical even now during winter when the trees are without their leaves. The other morning the wind was blowing leaves into circles around the road. Brown swirling leaves and naked trees lining old rustic fences surrounding dormant grasses under a pale gray sky. It was beautiful. At one point of my drive snow flurries kick up in a crazy way. The snow was swirling around like the inside of a snow globe. Yep, these are new roads for me.

My husband and I decided to come out to Nashville last July. We packed up both cars and took to the road August 2. Our last night in San Diego we stayed at the Omni Hotel downtown. San Diego was beautiful that night. We had a view of the bay looking toward Coronado. Watching the lights get brighter as the day turned into night was spectacular. Being able to shower in a perfectly working shower with lots of room was a treat in itself after being in a slightly run downed 1970s apartment for a year and half.

In the morning we got up early and drove to our apartment in La Mesa to pick up my car and to finish packing both cars for the trip. La Mesa Village is quaint. I walked to Cosmos and got a latte. Then I circled back stopping at Sprouts Market to pick up a few items. The cashier, who has been a part of La Mesa for as long as I can remember, asked how I was doing and I shared how we were moving to Nashville in about an hour. I think she was genuinely impressed.

As I walked through the village I was very conscious of my surroundings wondering if I would ever return. The misty wet sidewalks. The hazy sky. The shops on La Mesa Boulevard. The Methodist Church at Lemon and Palm. The mix of old houses and ugly apartment buildings. This is my hometown. I was born at the local hospital, worked at the local mall, spent a good portion of my teen years here and lived here for the past 10 years. Now I’m leaving…again.

Cars packed and repacked, music queued, we headed east. Me in the lead. My husband right behind me. I felt a little sad. No, not sad, emotional. I had no second thoughts about this move. Tom Petty was my chosen soundtrack for leaving California. Seems like he leaves a lot himself. We drove through the El Cajon valley and up to Alpine toward the mountains. I put my window down, stuck my arm out and waved goodbye. The decision to take both cars allowed me to drive alone and I loved it. I was able to go in out of various emotional states without being observed. Laughing and crying it’s all the same says Joni.



One thought on “Roads More and Less Travelled

  1. I love the honesty in this post. I remember feeling similarly when I left home for college (emotional, not sad, and leaving without question). I’m so happy you get to enjoy a different kind of beauty in your new commute. I love you so much and I love even more that we are in driving distance of each other! 🙂


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