Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 298: On a Road to Somewhere

There's been a detour on my trip to work at the college. It all started with those torrential rains in March, when the normally lazy Taunton River that passes under Summer Street in Bridgewater turned into the Mississippi, and flooded my beautiful little backroad to Bridgewater State College in three feet of water. If you remember, I drove through it once. Just once.

For four days, I continued to follow the road to that same flood, hoping that maybe this was the day the waters had receded. Honestly, it never was, and every time I had to backtrack, find a detour, and arrive late to class... again. It took about two weeks for the town of Middleboro to post a "Road Closed" sign. Of course, they didn't mark a detour. Oh joy. Late for class already, and now I have to pick my way through the Middleboro wilds to find the Ivory Tower.

I called my professor, Brass Doc. (Surely you remember conducting class? The pool...?) I said,

"Hi Don. I'm on a road I don't know hoping it'll get me where I need to be..."

...and then spent the rest of the drive thinking what a cool metaphor that was.

I found myself on route 105, part of what Middleboro has officially deemed its "Heritage Landscape," and I can see why. Stunning farmland—real, working farms with Australian sheepdogs—where farmers sell aged cow poop for $3.00 a bag. Same price for a carton of eggs. I bought both: six of one, and a dozen of the other.

I enjoyed the detour, which is good because it remained in effect for over a month, only that little river was back to normal, and I could never figure out why the rest of the road wasn't open. As far as I knew, this was the only place that water crossed under the road for its eight-mile stretch from route 44 to Bridgewater State College. Finally one night last week, the suspense got too much. I decided to drive around the detour sign to see what the problem was. I traveled about a mile in the dark, feeling a little bit like an unsuspecting canoer in a Disney movie (watch out for the gigantic waterfall!!!!) til I came to two massive cement blocks stationed in front of a ten-foot wide gulf where the road used to be. My beloved route had fallen into a cranberry bog. Uh-oh.

Didn't matter because the detour had turned out to be much more pleasant than the original road. Now the semester's almost over, and I'll miss it.

I keep thinking about that statement. On a road I don't know, hoping it'll get me where I need to be. As it turns out, it was an unexpectedly gorgeous road, and it took me to a road I'd been on a thousand times before, only from a different angle.

If that's not a metaphor for a musical life, I don't know what is. Let's welcome those detours. They may delay our arrival, but what wonder we can experience if we enjoy the scenery along the way. Added bonus: Sometimes detours can be a rich source of bullsh*t.

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