My mind drifts back to the hot, summer days, when I walked everywhere. Our driveway was a long dirt road out in the middle of the woods. If you needed to think, or take a walk to get your temper under control, the drive was the place to do it. Tall sweet gum trees and pine grew on the sides of the road. The limbs provided shade over parts of the road, due to the long branches hanging out over the driveway. Honeysuckle vines grew in the foliage, the scamper of gray squirrels could be heard from early morning to late evening. It was the best of both worlds.
Time moves slowly here in the South. I remember allowing my imagination to run wild during my youth, as I walked to my grandmother’s house or pushed our lawnmower to the nearest mobile home lot to make some extra cash. It all started at the drive. When bad things happened, I would find myself walking down the driveway. It was my escape, my fortress of solitude.
The drive was where I learned to talk to God. I spilled my guts after my first break-up on a long walk down the drive. Many tears were shed due to the loss of family members on said driveway. At night it was eerie, the owls would come out and hoot. The night never seemed so dark as it was on the driveway. Due to the overhanging branches, the shade gave way to long shadows. Death always comes in threes, and I often prayed I wouldn’t succumb to Death’s icy grip on the driveway. Talking to God made the journey seem quicker at night. To this day, the things that go bump in the night causes me to shiver.
After my time in the Middle East, I found myself longing for a long driveway. Instead, I found myself in a roundabout. What a fitting description of my life at that point of time. Everywhere I turned, I felt like I was moving in circles. Nothing made sense to me. I became so lost that I didn’t know what was up or down. When everything I had ever worked for was taken from me, I forgot about the long driveway. Until the day I realized my choices consisted of leaving or starving, I simply existed. The driveway was buried under mounds of trauma that would take years for me to overcome.
On a cold day in January, I boarded a bus and made my way to Memphis, Tennessee. My parents picked me up at the bus terminal. The thoughts in my mind were scattered, the stress of my life had battered me to nigh drowning. When we pulled up to the cabin which is now my home, I looked down the drive. The long, winding road reminded me of my childhood. Here is a place I can talk to God. A place where I can unburden my soul and find peace.
Tall pines grow down the fence, bordering both sides of the road. Sweet gums, oak, and the occasional honeysuckle make it a sight to behold. As I stood there looking, I could feel the pieces of my broken life begin to be placed together. As a singer once sang, “take me home country road, to the place that I belong.” No matter my troubles, I can find my way home as long as there is a long, winding drive.