I made a quick overnight visit to one of my favorite people on earth last Sunday…my best friend! She is lucky enough to live in one of the prettiest areas of Virginia; it is, in fact, one of the prettiest areas anywhere…at least in my humble opinion. We were heading from her place deep in the woods back into town the morning after I arrived and it occurred to me that, while I love my little town and life here, I was undergoing a serious case of scenery envy. This tends to happen every time I visit her and its causes are fairly simple. The surroundings are beautiful. Rolling hills that give way to the Blue Ridge Mountains; pastoral scenes of contented sheep and cattle grazing on miles of farmland; winding roads with bridges that traverse lazy rivers. It is, in essence, like a series of perfect oil paintings from the 19th century piled one upon another. And all of this in the short space of five or six miles between her home and town!
I’ve told her more than once that I simply don’t understand how one who makes that drive to and fro daily could be frazzled at the end of the day. Unlike those of us who sit in city traffic, silenting berating the fates that are slowing us down (or the driver in front of us who evidently purchased a car that did not include a turn signal mechanism), folks in her neck of the woods can simply relax. Even if they know the various stresses of daily life might await them at journey’s end, for that small space of time, in that particularly lovely locale, they can breathe out, feast their eyes on their surroundings, and–I’d wager–feel the tension flowing out of their bodies.
I suppose the only remedy for this city dweller is to lock those same images into my mind so that I can call them up as needed. The next time I am sitting on 95 fuming about the construction that is once again delaying me from reaching home I shall conjure up those rivers, those winding roads, those pastoral vistas…and smile in spite of my scenery envy.