“All roads lead to Rome.” – ancient saying
“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say”
— J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)
Is there anything more likely to evoke a mixture of emotions quite like travel?
You may be going to visit relatives on a holiday, coming home from a vacation, going to a business appointment or event out of town, or just heading home after a long day at work or visiting people.
If you are in the moment and feel the connections to what you’re doing, you may be moved by how this experience is universal yet unique. Universal in that everyone has traveled and felt what you’re feeling. Unique in that no one is right there, right now, feeling and seeing and thinking the exact same thing.
There is a reason that so many books and movies have been written about the Road in one sense or another. It’s one of those things that ties us together into a civilization. Letting the road fall into disrepair is a sign of a society in decline. Conquerors always build new roads to make it easier to move troops and supplies. Rebels tend to both use the roads and to destroy them to prevent their use by those they are rebelling against.
Roads are also what ties the places that matter to us together. Even if instant transportation were invented tomorrow, roads would still matter, for without them, we’d be disconnected from our pasts and unable to adapt to the changes coming in our futures.
This post was prompted by Publish in 10 Minutes Per Day
(The above photo was taken on Pleasant Hill Road, looking north. I was going home after sharing Thanksgiving dinner with my parents at their church. In the car with me was a plateful of food to take to my wife in the nursing home. This part of the road is in Memphis, Tennessee, just north of the state line with Mississippi. There’s actually a road near that line called State Line Road, which is in Mississippi. The main garbage dump for the county is just beyond the trees on the left, although you can’t tell that from the photo. It’s ironic that Pleasant Hill is next to a very unpleasant hill of garbage.)