Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Driving at Night

I had an errand to run this evening so I set off down the six miles of (to steal a description from Tom Waits) "black anaconda of a two lane" that runs between our farm and the town limits. I have a love-hate relationship with this road. Just a week ago the poplars were losing their leaves to wind gusts and I drove to work through sun-lit golden spirals. The view of the mountain as I approach home is stunning. A winter snowfall can turn it into a story-book path through white arches. It has also tried to kill me several times with the aid of black ice, fallen branches or indecisive wildlife. Tonight it was raining, with cloud at the higher elevations and mist in the low spots. High beams just bounced back glare, so I drove to town with the low beams on, slower than usual, watching the leaves in Sunday's pictures drift down and stick wetly to the road. I only saw one deer. She stood half in the road looking at me while I braked, me holding my breath hoping the new tires held on the banana peel pavement, the deer visibly calculating the odds of making it across in front of car. I was not in the mood to play chicken, and fortunately, neither was she. The deer backed away and I headed on, my pulse rate up, my speed down.