Since I have been making monthly trips to Southeastern Virginia from my home near Baltimore, I’ve been noticing the change in scenery more. Though I moved from the Tidewater, Virginia area at age 17 and never was back home for more than a few months, I still identify much of the area with “home.” Things like azaleas blooming in late March, large bodies of water with industry and Navy ships doting the shoreline, and flat farmland are all things I identify with home. The hills of Southeastern Virginia are all man-made and usually bridge-related.
On my drive most recently to Virginia, I passed a few “landmarks” that make me laugh and/or remind me of my roots. A store that sells blood worms and beer, and apparently little else based on the sign. Baptist and Methodist churches all along Route 17, from the mega-style to the tiny, clapboard style. In the summer, old, beat-up pickup trucks selling jimmies and she-crabs on the side of the road. Soybean and corn fields.
I leave Baltimore and know that if I want Starbucks, I have to get it in La Plata, Maryland or wait until Gloucester, Virginia, about 2.5 hours apart. In 2012, that is a long way between Starbucks.
The drive is actually welcomed, as I listen to sermons or books, and occasionally music. It is time alone and time to pray. It is time to think through problems and receive encouragement from smarter and more spiritually mature people than me, who speak to me through my iPod. It is like I know them. And sometimes I think it is like they know me, the way they can peg my issue without even knowing my name.
I used to hate this drive. It is so long. It is a good hour longer than taking the interstate all the way. But my days of driving I-95 just to get somewhere quicker are over. I arrive much more refreshed having traveled the longer, more scenic route.
I hate the axiom about the journey being more important than the destination. I think that’s bull. But the journey can enhance your appreciation for the destination.