Highways Have Souls

Erifnus carried me without radar, sonar, Pixar, Pulsar, Dagmar, Bolivar, Telstar, Avatar, NASCAR or a minibar. We relied on maps.

Compared to GPS, maps are lazy and they won’t work on their own, preferring to doze, folded tight as a sleeping dog, gravitating like spiders to dark out-of-the-way spots like glove compartments and magazine racks.

But if you coax them from hiding, they’ll open up like a Georgia O’Keefe flower and draw you into every pistel in the Ozarks, every bend in the rivers, every drive down the main drag of every town. The map sets the stage for a remarkable discovery:

Highways have souls.

Like the travelers on its back, a highway may be black or brown, tan or white or red. Even blue. Its face may be smooth. Or it can be pocked, pitted, patchy. Its makeup may be fresh and bright, or worn thin.

            A highway always follows, even as it leads.

Its shoulders can be broad and supportive, or narrow and difficult. It can be tough to mount, if so inclined. And dangerous, if crossed.

It whines beneath low tires. It can sing. It can screech. It can scrape and skin and maim and kill. It might be beautiful. Or homely. But always, it’s the way home for somebody.

Highways have souls. And all unfold into stories.

–from Souls Along The Road

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