Yesterday was a road trip. It was by myself, but there is no shame in that. One has to understand the current state of being and not be destroyed by it. I hadn’t spent time out of Hooterville, in earnest, for months. Much to my satisfaction, the weather cooperated and traffic wasn’t atrocious. Several drivers needed to have their licenses yanked, to be sure, but the flow remained uninterrupted for the majority of the way.
All of this driving was for the benefit of seeing the Serpent Mound in southern Ohio. A good friend of mine living in Massachusetts with his boyfriend was posting pictures of their recent visit to Cahokia Mounds. For all of the time I’ve spent here in Ohio, there are plenty of natural history sites I’ve never visited. Being Memorial Day weekend, it seemed like the perfect thing to do.
As you can see from the observational deck photo, there’s not a whole lot to the monument itself. There was a trail leading around the park, but I didn’t think I had enough time to hike it. I was also leery of mosquitoes; the itching drives me crazy.
The fact it was built or its relation to the solstices weren’t nearly as interesting as the preservation society’s strict adherence to Midwestern ideals of lawn care. That place is manicured! Control. Control. Control. I have never seen a picture of it in tall grass.
A friend of mine last night made the observation that a less maintained approach was not only desired but necessary. We both agreed that the Fort Ancient culture would not have broken out the John Deere to tidy up the place, but he went further to say the overgrowth provided an additional, artistic element: motion. With the wind periodically sweeping across the earthwork, it would give the perception of the serpent moving toward the egg it’s about to swallow. I thought that sheer brilliance.
I found the destination to be worthwhile, albeit a one-time event. With all of the other attractions out there, it was good for what it was. I doubt I’ll have any reason to revisit the place, though. It’s approximately a 4-hour car ride.
Small adventures, such as these, make up for the large journey I crave at the end of the day. It brings back memories of reading On the Road, which is a favorite of mine. It’s not that I find the author to be cool, or it’s what all the cool kids read, rather the basic concept of the book is delicious. I’m not terribly interested in the author as a person and all the cool kids can go stuff their heads into a tin can.*
“It’s the journey, not the destination.” We hear that maxim often enough, right? That saying bothered me for the longest time, because driving is unpleasant. There are so many hazards on the road, and I can’t look around that much. Eyes on the road, mister! I was more happy at the destination, because I didn’t have to focus on getting there. After yesterday, I believe I have an acceptable solution.
I’ll revise it to say, “it’s the journey, when you stop moving,” as divided attention on the road is deadly. For example, had I not been paying attention yesterday, I wouldn’t have had time to dodge the deer doing a pirouette across the interstate. Unfortunately for the minivan in the passing lane, the local fauna did a number to their right headlight and fender. I hope the doe died on impact, because it would undoubtedly be in agony otherwise. It made a grunt so loud that I could hear it over The Dillinger Escape Plan’s “43% Burnt.”
On the lighter side of things, I got to watch the locals of Hillsboro, OH (possibly “Hillsburah”?) in action. Being Sunday, all of the mom and pop restaurants were closed. This vexed me a bit, but my hunger pushed me to eat at an Arby’s. The employees proceeded to chatter among one another in spotty, country accents. The prize winning story was of [insert relative name here]’s disdain for using the “au jus” of a French Dip & Swiss on his sandwich. Instead, he would, “drink it like a beverage.” That statement almost cured my hunger issues right then and there.
This would have never happened, had I not paid attention to the world around me when traveling. It makes me feel better, now that I have come to an accord with the dime store philosophers of the world. Their triteness gets under my skin at times, but they tenaciously cling to that thread of truth of which their outlook on life is based. To find a happy medium, not only sound in principle but functional as well, is a breath of fresh air.
* – This makes me recall my diatribe about “nerd love” these past few years. I think I’ll make a post about it someday.