From the southwestern corner of the state, I drive east, along a highway laid straight between planted farm fields all around. Flat and sprawling acre upon acre, they are green now with corn and beans or stand bare while the glossy stubble of harvested wheat fades to gray beneath the bleaching rays of the sun.
Mile upon mile, as distant clusters of barns and sheds tucked neatly between the broad expanses slowly disappear from view, a heavy flow of traffic travels this long straight path—a racing river of cars and trucks linking Ohio’s largest cities. Until on the horizon, from behind a row of trees, the hint of eastern hill country first appears in rolling pastures, steep slopes bathed in the amber glow of a summer evening, the steeple of a small white church that rests amid a stand of pines stepping down the ridge.
One after another, fellow travelers exit the highway. Four lanes have dropped to 3 and before long, shrink to 2. Aside from the few cars that trail behind, the road is mine now as it rises and falls along its heavily treed course toward the Ohio River.
From here I will take a smaller road that winds and dips, plunging into the hollows and returning to ride the ridge. Then meet the worn gravel road flanked by hay fields, sweeping a wide arc beside the uncut grassy meadow.
Because the road to a friend's house is never long.
Surrounded by a wildness that with each season brings new beauty—
by woods adorned with spring’s first wildflowers,
a meadow ripe with summer song,
she surrounds herself with flowers that tell of her great spirit--
keeper of the innocent,
one who is gentle and kind,
one who is bright and warm.
(and smart and funny and strong...)
No, the road to this dear friend's house could never be too long.