*Disclaimer: Please, Salem Township, if you're reading this, do NOT take this post as a reason to NOT consider us for tar and chip, dust deterrent, or even a little more gravel now and again. This is merely a reflection on finding the good in the EVIL that is the gravel road.
And now back to the post:
Our house sits about three quarters of a mile from the "hard road." That means, gravel for almost a mile. We know all too well the affects of gravel on our life. Dust hitting your face as we're playing and a car drives by; deciding which windows to open in the warmer months based on the wind direction; many, many, many flat tires repaired and sets of new tires purchased.
Friends, it is a complete nuisance to live on this road. Joe says if you want to know what roads were like in the 1920s, come down ours.
However, I'm turning a new leaf. I think it may be because after 10 years on this homestead, I have decided to embrace the gross.
Today as I was headed down my last leg of my run, I noticed prints. Not the typical deer tracks or bunny tracks I see on the soft side of the road, they were "man boot" prints.
If it were the entrance to a pasture or our neighbor's hunting house, I wouldn't have been concerned. However, these were just past the timber draw that is about a quarter of a mile from the corner.
You might be from a road that is less traveled if you're noticing foot traffic from an unknown shoe.
However, as I searched both sides of the timber to see if a hunter, vagrant or other ax murderer was going to pluck me from existence, it dawned on me.
The good folks at Wright Tree Service trimmed trees this week! Those were the boot tracks from the nice young man who stopped my car to explain what they were doing as I drove to town on Thursday.
You might be on a road that is not heavily traveled if, on Saturday, one can note visible footprints from Thursday.
I chuckled at my stealth like observation skills and small town-ness as I headed the last bit of my run home. But besides feeling like such a hick from the sticks, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and frankly, safety as I stepped into my house. While our road sometimes serves as a cut-through for the local drunks, headed from one small town bar to another, and a few dogs have lost their lives thanks to travelers on this path, we are generally pretty safe out here. We recognize who's coming down the road, who's slowing, and who's "not from here." We wave to neighbors, passing farmers and those we don't even know. We may be a dusty and lonely house on this road, but we're friendly bunch.
Again, I'm not saying that there aren't days I would give anything for a paved road so the kids could ride bikes, and I could have a clean car for more than the 30 minutes drive from the "good car wash." I just realized that with all the dust and grime and muck and all that, our road gives us a sense of safety.
And an appreciation for winds from the north.