When was the last time you drove a dirt road?
Living out west in Colorado, just along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, it’s not very hard to find one. The boys love it when we’re forced to venture off a paved street and find ourselves bouncing and navigating gravel and rocky paths. I have to admit, it’s kind of fun, so long as we don’t bust a hole in the gas tank, crack a windshield or blow the shocks or struts on the car.
Driving a dirt road has its advantages, of course. It’s something of an adventure, to wind your way where fewer cars go. Very often you’re rewarded with a beautiful sight of God’s dramatic creation.
I once lived at the end of a dirt road, out on a five-acre ranch in Morongo Valley, California. My mother had just died and I was an orphan in need of a home. The Reel family took me in, and I spent several months walking a dusty trail to and from the bus stop, navigating the chickens and goats – and a tremendously dysfunctional home life.
So my association with unpaved roads is a bit of a mixed bag, but in many ways, they are a metaphor for life: like a dirt road, life is unpredictable, sometimes treacherous, sometimes gentle and serene. But no matter how good or bad life may seem to be, like a dirt road, there is a measure of gravel mixed in, giving us the traction to grip the sharp turns and weather any storm.
Sound like something you’ve experienced?
Just for fun, I’d like to share a short essay with you from a gentleman by the name of Lee Pitts. Mr. Pitts is an author and syndicated columnist. I like his optimism and creative thinking and, after reading this, won’t quite ever look at dirt roads the same.
People that live at the end of Dirt Roads learn early on that life is a bumpy ride.
That it can jar you right down to your teeth sometimes, but it’s worth it, if at the end is home … a loving spouse, happy kids and a dog. We wouldn’t have near the trouble with our educational system if our kids got their exercise walking a Dirt Road with other kids, from whom they learn how to get along.
There was less crime in our streets before they were paved. Criminals didn’t walk two dusty miles to rob or rape, if they knew they’d be welcomed by 5 barking dogs and a double barrel shotgun. And there were no drive by shootings.
Our values were better when our roads were worse.
People did not worship their cars more than their kids, and motorists were more courteous, they didn’t tailgate by riding the bumper or the guy in front would choke you with dust and bust your windshield with rocks.
Dirt Roads taught patience.
Dirt Roads were environmentally friendly, you didn’t hop in your car for a quart of milk, you walked to the barn for your milk. For your mail, you walked to the mail box.
What if it rained and the Dirt Road got washed out?
That was the best part, then you stayed home and had some family time, roasted marshmallows and popped popcorn and pony rides on Daddy’s shoulders … and you learned how to make prettier quilts than anybody.
At the end of Dirt Roads, you soon learned that bad words tasted like soap.
Most paved roads lead to trouble, Dirt Roads more likely lead to a fishing creek or a swimming hole. At the end of a Dirt Road, the only time we even locked our car was in August, because if we didn’t some neighbor would fill it with too much zucchini.
At the end of a Dirt Road, there was always extra springtime income, from when city dudes would get stuck, you’d have to hitch up a team and pull them out. Usually you got a dollar
… always you got a new friend
… at the end of a Dirt Road.