I apologize in advance for the touchy-feely nature of this post. Although I am a quarter Greek with a pair of late great uncles named Socrates and Plato to prove it, I am by no means a philosopher. However, a recent drive through a mountain road got me thinking metaphorically…
The drive started out innocent enough. I dropped Kevin off at practice and took a backroad out of Torre to head back to Luserna. This path is part of one of my favorite runs, passing by expansive green farmlands. The days of driving on this road are numbered… once snow and ice become an element of the weather, it is closed to cars without chains on their tires. I wanted to clock out the distance of my run, and, with the sun making its appearance for the first time in weeks, I couldn’t think of a better time for such a leisurely drive. I took a left off of the main road and followed it as it curved right. Two kilometers ticked by and then, rather than continuing straight ahead where I usually run, I took a left towards Angrogna. What possessed me to jeer off course, I couldn’t tell you. I just did. To counteract my subconscious decision, I made a conscious one. Seeing as I love loops, I decided to turn my spontaneous detour into such a route. I followed the narrow stretches of road, turning as necessary onto whichever street I thought might take me up and back to where I initially drove off course. The problem is, with all of the steep switchbacks, the unfamiliar roads started to all look the same. Already four songs into my mixed CD and at least 5km off of my running course, I became disoriented. Turning around wasn’t an option because the streets were too narrow to permit even a one thousand point Austin Powers turn. And the banks of the side of the road were too threateningly steep to even risk an attempt. Not that turning around would have been helpful… I don’t think I could have found my way back in that direction if I’d tried. Rather than worry like am inclined to do in such situations, I just turned up the music, rolled down the windows, and drove.
No sooner had I succumbed to my state of being lost did the road open up to spectacular panoramic view of snow-capped mountains framed by autumn-colored trees. Mountains and foliage and snow, oh my! I pulled the car over as much as possible, shifted it into neutral, and pulled up the emergency brake. Like a little girl on Christmas day rushing over to my stocking, I hurried across the street to admire the sight, an unadvertised gem along a quiet mountain road. Michael Franti’s “Sound of Sunshine” blared from the car stereo while my eyes worked diligently to register the color palettes of the canvas before me… blues, purples, oranges, and greens. I snapped a few pictures proudly as if I were the Lois and Clark of Angrogna, discovering the beauty of this mountainside destination for the first time. Returning to the car euphoric about my accidental discovery, I drove on greedy for more. Much to my delight, each subsequent bend of the road afforded me new views. I stopped several times to snatch up the images to the best of my novice photographer abilities. When I eventually reached a widening of the road, I turned around and headed back a different way than I had come. Before long, I arrived at an intersection that I recognized. I was two turns ahead of where I had turned left off my running course!
And this was where I started thinking…
Whether a person is looking for a job, a soul-mate, or the perfectly stylish-yet-functional winter jacket, people often say “you find what you are looking for when you least expect it”. There have been times in my life where I have found some truth in these hope-inducing words. I have even offered them as consolation to friends, with faith that they will eventually find what they are looking for. But, what if, as it happened to me when I turned off the course, you don’t know what you’re looking for? What if you get lost? Well, then I guess you are S.O.L. You are on your own on this one… here’s a little pity shrug and a good luck pat on the back. Just kidding!
Piggybacking on the “If you least expect it, then you find it” philosophy, I think getting lost can have a similar conclusion. Only, rather than finding what you were looking for, you are finding something you never would have looked for in the first place.
I know what you’re thinking…
Sarah, what has happened to you?! Six weeks in Italy and you are going crazy! At this rate, you’ll be using the next post to preach your idea of the meaning of life!
Please do not jump to conclusions. I am not saying that this little drive was a life-changing experience, nor do I feel enlightened by the outcome of getting myself a little lost on my way home. I am just documenting the fact that, in this particular case, a potentially worrisome detour brought me somewhere unexpected and beautiful. Take from it what you will, but I think there might be literal and figurative interpretations to finding something wonderful when you are a little lost.
|One of the many turns along the road...|