Winding roads help me think.
When the road is long and there are trees as far as the eye can see and so thick that you can’t see what’s hiding underneath them, I begin to relax. I breathe deeper, I smile more easily, and the stress that has built up in my back and shoulders over the last few months falls away. It’s almost as if I can’t breathe in enough of that crispy air that always accompanies pines and mountains.
After long hard days, weeks, and even months, I will stare at the ceiling at night and imagine myself away. When I was little, I used to have a lot of trouble sleeping. I would toss and turn and all manner of scary things would keep me awake at night. In an effort to get me to sleep – and probably to help me let of go of his arm so he could go to bed – my dad told me to lie very still and picture a place in my mind. He said to picture somewhere that made me feel peaceful and relaxed. I think the example he told me was to picture resting in a hammock on a white sand beach, but that didn’t suit me at all.
Instead I saw myself looking overhead and seeing just small gleams of light peeking through trees. I could hear the crunch of the leaves and pine needles under my feet. I could smell the rawness of the dirt and bark in the air and feel the coolness of it on my face. I was not in a hammock on the beach, but instead resting on the small porch of a home in the woods. And slowly, slowly, I felt myself slip off to sleep from the relaxation of this image.
Winding roads help me relax.
It’s always the winding roads that lead you to the best places. The way they lean and turn with the land instead of cutting harshly through it. It rocks me into a state of peace where my head is clear and my heart is full of happiness at the knowledge that this road can only lead to good things. I’ve always liked being in nature, and when I think of nature I think of trees. Dark, tall, and thick trees that transform the landscape into a place where fairies and all creatures of the imagination can live.
That imagery from when I was so young still helps me today. I stay very still and look at the ceiling and try to relieve myself of the stress by remember what it’s like to look into the blackest sky at night and see nothing but millions of stars, brighter than anything you could see in a city. I smile and remember spending those nights at the lake with the comfort of the land around me and just spending hours watching shooting stars across the sky.
Then I wake up. And I’m in my little bed in my little room and the only thing to remind me of the feeling I love so much are the postcards covering my wall.
Winding roads lift me up.
“As much as I love the beach, I would much prefer to live by the mountains” I told a friend a few months ago. They didn’t agree with me.The beach was for them and nothing else. I do love the beach. I love being near water, but not the salty kind that leads into oblivion. Living on the edge was never my thing. Whenever I do go to the beach, I know that I couldn’t stay there very long. I love it, but it’s not where my heart resides. I find myself thinking of those winding roads that lead up, up, into the trees and waterfalls and dirt paths.
I think about places a lot. The more I think about the places I love most, it isn’t the place so much as the atmosphere that I have fallen in love with. The casual, care-free life of the beach was never for me. It was the rugged and cozy life of the mountains that appealed. Nothing was more comforting than picturing myself curling up by the fire with a cup of tea and big, big book. When I remember the things I love about London, I think about the mannerisms of the people, the feel that the architecture brings, the energy that the people had for the city, and all the little things that made it so special. The one thing I loved about Paris was sitting in a cafe at the end of the day with my crepes and wearing my favorite skirt. It was then that I felt I had really gotten a feel for that Paris that so many others have fallen in love with.
Winding roads have atmosphere.
There are probably many reasons why I have a love affair with the trees. I don’t think exploring them too deeply matters, though. I just know that they make me happy. It’s nice to know what makes you happy instead of being stuck feeling lost and out of place. When I do feel lost and out of place, though, all I have to do is take a nap and fall asleep to the picture of woods and all the mystery, romance, and natural peace they bring me.
So take me to the mountains. Let me breathe among the pines and dream among the stars. Let me imagine a world where fairies fly free and there is still so much to be discovered. Drive me up those winding roads that sway with the earth. Watch how more in sync with myself I become. Watch how happy I feel. Watch how the stress on my face will melt away with the fresh air. Maybe then you’ll understand, and maybe – just maybe – you’ll feel a little bit of it, too.