If you take a a left on the road that runs past my apartment complex, it takes you to an ordinary intersection similar to countless others that dot the maps of innumerable cities and towns all across this country.
There is nothing special about the road that cross. The cracked pavement in my small corner of Idaho is the same as the pavement in Connecticut. It's covered with potholes and worn out paint. Portions are filled with crudely placed tar, sticky and vaguely sparkly when the sun hits it just right. There are loose bits of gravel that have traveled the nation being passed from tire tread to tire tread, that now, traveled and worn sit right outside my door.
But perhaps what's more than the physical characteristics that make these roads more than just commonplace are the stories of those that travel these roads each day.
I, like so many others, am a creature of habit. I take the same route to class each morning acquainting myself more with the roads. They have come to know my deepest desires, most paralyzing fears and greatest joys. They know my soul as my thoughts that pour out over them give me away one secret at a time.
But these roads are the greatest of secret-keepers. They will never tell of experiences long past that still haunt and shame me. They will never disclose the names of the boys I've spent my days thinking of. They will never hint at the hopes I have for my present and my future. These trusted confidants will never betray me with tales of my childish folly, secret success or penetrating loneliness.
Along with my secrets and my idiosyncrasies, the roads have been infused with my trust.
These magnificent pathways are what guide me to the companionship of a dear friend. The safety of my small, cramped apartment. The sanctuary of my job. The fortress of my faith.
At the end of each road I arrive somewhere that defines who I am ever so slightly. Often times, it's imperceptible.
However, the introspection doesn't come until I'm back in the safety of asphalt, where my soul and my secrets are protected.
A few nights ago, I sat in the back of a white Jeep watching the moon from outside my window. Transfixed, I silenced my racing thoughts and felt the momentum of each turn that was taken too quickly. My stomach swooped down to the ground as the Jeep conquered a roller-coaster like hill. I peaked past the headrest of the passenger seat through the bug-stained windshield.
The steady rhythm of the music playing on the radio, fast and steady like the sound of a train engine somehow steered my thoughts to reality. The headlights only extended to the next curve moments before we hit it. Though I knew these back country roads almost as well as they knew me, I still felt uncertain as to where I was, and where I was going.
A small fleck of anxiety rushed through me. Where was I? How could the roads who I had confessed everything to abandon me so easily?
As the song on the radio crescendoed into a familiar chorus, and the effervescent moon shined through my window, constant and unchanged, I realized that my dear friends, those winding roads, had taught me a lesson I had long forgotten.
It's all about the journey.
And so I closed my eyes, let the music wash over me as the last notes faded into my heart, and enjoyed the long and winding curves of the road that will forever lay ahead of me.