Frum Outdoorsman: Rare but Possible

The wanderings and adventures of an orthodox Jew

For the sake of wandering

Posted by Frum Hiker on February 25, 2008

The tree was no ordinary one, it was enormous, and it was beautiful, but it was strange emotional in a way. Its branches were welcoming and the old ban tilting to its side as if it were about to fall made the picture just right. I switched my camera to black and white to enhance the beauty of this enormous old growth tree, that was right at the intersection of two dirt roads with no name on them. As if the roads were built with the tree in mind, bending a little in there windy ways to accommodate this massive Birch that stood in front of an old stately house that stood next to the tilted wooden barn. It was a proud tree and it put me in a cheery mood, although I was already in a cheery mood, the tree made it somewhat better.

I hopped in my car and chose to turn left at the tree continuing my odyssey of dirt road traveling. Its my thing you know, to drive up random roads and get lost, you never know what will be around the bend, behind that abandoned grain silo or over the next hill. Its quite interesting actually to just wander for the sake wandering, nowhere to go and no ideas where I actually am. Just driving down long forgotten roads past fallen over barns, old rusting farm equipment with small trees growing out of the wheels, leaning towers of grain silos and once grand now left to rot mansions. Trailer parks with trucks parked next to small patches of grass with small scenes of Nativity being played out next to cowboy silhouettes. Old cars sitting in a mowed around patch of weeds with faded for sale cards in the windows. Stop signs barely legible due to a scattering of bullet holes. Roads with ruts that will suck you up should you make any sudden moves. Swamps and dense thickets of deciduous trees, fast flowing creeks gurgling over rocks and deadfall, snow capped hills, and pine trees full of the last snow, gently tilting their trees and dispersing their loads to the ground below, adding to the snow drifts and covering up the deer tracks.

This is what I crave, driving down a muddy road, forests and fields passing by at 35 miles per hour, my wheels spitting mud and gravel onto the already browned snow on the side of the road right up against the forest. Struggling with the wheel and with the clutch, making sure I do not miss anything and do not skid off a cliff. Small pings coming from my undercarriage- little rocks hitting my car as I bump over the rutted road. People walking their dogs, in orange caps and camouflage jump suits, gentle waves at them and back at me as I pass.

The banjo is being picked at a steady pace and I am bobbing along excited at what the road will bring me. Just peacefully drifting to the sounds of the Kentucky Hills, bluegrass is the only music for this type of venture. It allows me to drift to the olden days. I imagine the road without power lines and homesteaders working the land, women in big dresses hauling water up from the well and the kids churning butter.

Paved roads interject the unpaved ones and I try as hard as possibly to only drive on dirt, my car is sandy colored and I am proud of the mud mess I have produced.

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