210,000 miles and who knows how many sunsets, and counting

I spend a lot of my time driving back and forth to campus and to my friends’ houses and to the school I work at… I spend a lot of time in my car going from place to place across four different counties multiple times a week. While to some people it might be super tedious, I kind of enjoy it. I don’t really get any time to just sit in nature, so I enjoy what I can about what the world has to offer me while I have nowhere else to go. One of my most favorite things to note and notice across my many daily commutes are sunrises and sunsets; I find that I get to see the best ones as I’m in my car. It kind of makes me feel like the world says good morning and good night to me, and it reminds me to take a little bit of time to reflect and decompress for myself.

The best part of my drive has been getting to know every little corner of my route so well. While it does help to know where the cops like to sit so I can slow down and save myself and whoever’s behind me from getting a ticket, I take the time I have stuck behind a looooooong caravan of trucks to get to know all the little places. The most rewarding bit is being able to point them out to people when I travel that way with my family or friends (especially if for once I’m not driving); I worry that otherwise, they might be overlooked. I love to share that I dream about the beautiful colonial brick house off of 63 or that I feel my stomach drop like I’m on a roller coaster when I try to keep my car at 30 miles an hour going down the big hill into Wyoming when I go to Warsaw. All of these little details of what my life has become and what my new reality looks like have made me change my perspective; everything for me has always been so fast, so go-go-go all the time, and it doesn’t have to be. The beauty in the simple has made me more reflective, more caring, more sensitive, to everything that goes on. These tedious, expensive, long haul drives across Genesee and Livingston and Wyoming country (and Monroe every so often, if we’re feeling different) have given me no other choice but to realize just how lucky I am to have a life where I can be at peace and reflect on things from the comfort of my beat-up Civic.

These places that I pass by every day to go do mundane things are so special to me. My students, who come almost entirely from trades or farms and have known nothing else aside from life up here, ask me what I’m doing here if I have a place to go back in “the city”, to my parents’ house on Long Island. They ask me how I like it out here where there’s nothing but farms and trees and “dinky” little tiny towns every couple of miles. I tell them I like it just fine and I’m here to stay, thank you very much.


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