Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Country Roads are a link to the past

An Osage dwelling that once could be seen along an Ozark trail

An old country road to McKee Ridge

The colors of Autumn along a country road

Acountry road that will take you to Windyville

Prehistory artifact found along an old country road
It seems to me that country road are more personal this time of the year. The colors of Autumn mark a new begining at the cost of losing summer.
Country Roads are links to the past.
The birth of super highways across the U.S. undoubtedly began along the narrow leaf strewn traces of the first human inhabitants long before the arrival of the Europeans. Many of these trails can be traced back to the obscurity of prehistory and perhaps if one could discern their faded and often marred existence would lead to the origin of the first Americans. It is evident to me at least that many of these ancient trails were migration routes used by animals that have long since become extinct. Many of these trails offered the first explorers passage of least resistance across a wilderness with unimaginable beauty, dangers, wealth and discoveries. Many of these traces were so narrow they afforded little room to maneuver whether on foot or horseback, but later after the arrival of the Europeans they were widened with broad axes and so began the super highways and the scarring of the land  that even at the present day continues. No part of America was spared along these once narrow traces that scaled the highest mountains, or snaked across the most formidable deserts. They were lifelines for the Indians and were defended with a vengeance, resulting in death and hardship to both the natives and invaders, as is evident by the many unmarked graves and artifact that lies hidden in the brush.
The evolution of many of the old trails ultimately linked a new nation together, brutally destroying other nations, ripping apart landscapes of great beauty. Many of the old traces were abandoned or were lost or were simply reclaimed by the land. Country roads of the early years of this country often led men to battle and later whether in defeat or victory they returned along worn torn familiar roads to set about building back that which they destroyed. Country roads united a nation, but they cut through the hearts of a people who once blazed the way.
Yet there remain many picturesque country roads in the vast rural areas of our land. Unlike the impatient highways that flow maddeningly across our land, most country roads of today offer those who travel them quite memories, tree shrouded passage to the crest of a hill where the sunset lingers beneath clouds aflame with its waning light, the fragrance of new mown hay, the song of a mourning dove or a fleeting glimpse of a wily coyote disappearing into a stand of buck brush.  Memories abound along these roads where once you shared the moonlight with the love of your life. Country roads meander past old cemeteries of both white settlers and Indians or forgotten homesteads and sagging one room school houses where leaning out houses can be seen peeking out from plum thickets or ivy vines. Country roads are a shared heritage that should not be forgotten. Adios.