My Road I know of this one road. A road made of dirt that's only purpose is served once a year. I used to run down this road for conditioning. It extends only one mile, beginning at my house and ending at the four-lane.
In Louisiana, we use the word "four-lane" instead of "highway" because, until recently, people were not used to seeing more than one lane of a road traveling the same direction. It is one of those idiosyncrasies that you only notice once you move away. This road that I exercised on bisects two busy streets, but no one knows about it or else has no sense to use it. On both sides of the road sugarcane grows tall. The sugarcane reaches so far back and extends so far ahead that it seems to engulf you on all four sides. I used to run down this road to escape, I thought, from the symmetrical normality of my life.
Sometimes little creatures would scurry from one field of cane to the other, crossing the open road in front of me as I jogged. Most of them were rabbits. Funny rabbits are; they feel some threat of danger near by, so they sprint across the open road to escape it. That seems like skewed logic to me. But sometimes I'd notice other footprints in the soft dirt road of other, perhaps more intelligent creatures, which had not found necessity in sprinting across in front of me. I pass by, not stopping to examine, but keeping the image in my head.
I continue running, creating footprints of my own. Half way down the road, the sugarcane fields part. They split at a perfect geometric angle, shooting off in the other direction. When something is so straight for such a long distance it seems to curve up. That's how sugarcane appears.
From airplanes, looked down upon, the fields look nothing more than tiny squares lined up next to one another. If looked at closely, sugarcane are long stalks of glucose polymers surrounded by a green leafy outer protection. I stood next to one and realized I reached only half way up its body. Every sugarcane stalk is identical. Every field is identical. Every row is precisely the same measurement apart from the one before it.
I'm sure if an average were measured of sugarcane's height, it would be within a one-inch range. When a sugarcane stalk sways in the wind, it struggles to regain its posture in line. Sometimes severe weather causes the sugarcane to bend, making huge depressions in the center of the fields. If, when the weather clears, the sugarcane does not pick itself up and reclaim its symmetrical order in the field, it will be looked over by the tractors, run over by the tires, and forgotten. Sugarcane, too, awaits Judgment Day.
Once a year the tractor rides up to each skinny, green pole and deciphers its value against and with all the others. In the clearing, where the sugarcane separates, along my dirt road, pecan trees grow. Taller than the sugarcane and hanging with scraggly, drooping branches, these trees do not appear very beautiful. Their color has been taken over by all the green surroundings as they reveal a grayish, brown trunk color. The pecan tree's purpose in life does not reside in its beauty. We often believe the beauty of life is our purpose for living.
Instead, the pecan tree transfers its beauty to its fruit. The plump seeds dropped by the towering pecan trees land on the ground with a thud. They crack in hopes of creating new life. In the fall, pecans cover the ground of the dirt road. When I jogged by these trees, sometimes I would reach down, scoop one up, put it in my pocket, and continue running, keeping it for when I arrived home. Other times, when I reached the portion of the road with pecans, I would stop and sit down to choose the biggest, rounded pecans.
I would gather pockets full, and then carry them home in my shirt. Sometimes, when I was running by, I would close my eyes, and concentrate on the road ahead. I'd reach the pecan trees and step carelessly on one, smashing it with all of my weight, moving on, and keeping my mindset on the jog. I wonder what deciphers significance and insignificance. My road remains secluded. I jog to escape, but escape what? We try to prove ourselves significant.
We wait for judgment from a God, our peers, ourselves. I run down this road to get away from my symmetrical life, my place in line, and my lack of beauty for life, but the same elements reside where I run, in nature. People always claim to "return to nature." How can they return, when we " ve never gone Thousands of years pass and we still claim to be so different from our surroundings. Where lies the significance? Looking from afar we appear the same, symmetrical, and ugly. But, we each bear our own fruit, we each offer our own sweetness to different aspects of life, and some of us even scare more easily than others. We all leave our own footprints on my Louisiana dirt road..