Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The road to a friend's house

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,

katydid in grass

smooth sumac, Rhus glabra
in flower

flowering spurge, Euphorbia corollata

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.

Julie Zickefoose


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Arija said...

How wonderful is friendship and how precious the time that we spend together. Thank you for taking us along for the ride.

sciencedude288 said...

Driving through this country usually causes me to take many rest stops to keep from nodding off, but you do a wonderful job presenting it in an interesting fashion.

Nina said...

If anyone reading this post hasn't already become an adoring fan of Julie Zickefoose, I encourage you to spend some time perusing her website. The stories told by this wonderful nature writer/watercolor artist through her blog and in her published works are also often broadcast on NPR and go beyond interesting to inspiring.
Check it out:
Julie Zickefoose

Murr Brewster said...

Ahh! I just took a little trip with you. Thanks!

KGMom said...

I have never traveled that road, but I knew where you were headed.

Deborah Carr said...

You had me with you, right beside you, all the way to Julie's. I smelled the damp grass with you, felt the gravel beneath our tires, then lit up with the the warmth of your friend's welcome. Thank you for the little journey through your words and beautiful images. (how did you find that katydid?)

KaHolly said...

Nina, I hope you have considered turning your blog posts into a book. ~karen

Julie Zickefoose said...

Mmm Nina how did you ever squeeze this post out between your travels? I never thought to look until today. How lovely. Even our old crooked mailbox looks so stately through your eyes. I hope there are more posts to come. Seems to me we took a few pictures, those days...thank you for gracing us with your presence. Our arms are always open to you.

digitalzen said...

How nice!

Mary said...

Again, I cry.

Angie said...

What a beautiful tribute---to the person and the place. It's gorgeous! You have such a talent with words and photos.

Sara said...


Your writing is very special and this entire post is beyond beautiful. The tribute to Julie and to friendship touched my heart. Ending with the photo of Julie and Charlie is perfect !


Gecko said...

What a fabulous blog you have, and love all your pics, I'll certainly be calling in again. Thanks for sharing :)

Unknown said...

It is about the journey, isn't it? Thanks for the ride...I am ready to relocate to Ohio!

C. Williams said...

Love the pictures from this post about your journey to a friend's house. What kind of camera do you use?

Tuga7 said...

great captured images, good details and color.