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January 15, 1999

The Dry Road turned Muddy...

Roads have always fascinated me from the days that I built them under a large hemlock tree in my backyard. I spent the hours of my youth plowing the soil under that tree and building superhighways complete with overpasses that made getting from one place to another easy.

In my teens I spent a lot of time in the neighboring woods following abandoned roads that had grown thick with obstacles. Sometimes these roads were barely discernible at times that made following them akin to reading a mystery novel. Most of the time they led to abandoned towns deep in the woods where only a cemetery and stone foundations remained revealing how sickness had wiped out an early settlement.

The roads (the non-paved variety anyway) continue to go through their winter metamorphous. A few days ago they were solid and dry, providing sure footing for man and beast, and then yesterday under the constant pelting of heavy rain the road started to fall apart drifting out into the pasture around it. I watched several cattle slide back down the hill they were trying to climb and I myself nearly skied down the hill rather than the preferred walk.

Today the road appears to be back to normal, but no one is quite ready to use it just yet. Appearances can be deceptive. The cattle standing on the sidelines no longer test this playing field and I only slightly smarter than them decide that I won't chance it either.

Life is often compared to a journey and the path that we trek a road. The easier the road is that we travel the more difficult it is at times to see the obstacles that lie up ahead.

I remember several times traveling at a high speed on an interstate and then suddenly coming upon something that had fallen on the highway and nearly flipping the vehicle that I was driving. We become less fearful driving on the super highways of life but in fact have more to fear there than we do on the old dirt roads where we expect to find obstacles.

What does all of it mean? I don't know. But I do know that the road that was dry turned muddy and now with the return of the cold has turned to ice.

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