Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The daily slog

Our daily commute. We're all used to it. We get so accustomed to it that we could drive it asleep. We change lanes at the same place on our route. Even the radio station I listen to plays the same ads at the same time each day - so that I am always passing the same scenery while listening to the same dumb Zantec commercial each day.

But every once in a while, the gods of traffic play tricks on us. Every morning, I drive a winding two lane state route about 6 miles through parkland and undeveloped Conservancy land down to the coast highway, where a single traffic light governs our joining the morning traffic into Santa Monica.

Most days, it moves pretty quickly, but some days the light's timing is off - I cannot fathom why it changes from one day to another, but it does.

When this happens, we patiently line up and wait, snaking down the canyon road through cycles of the traffic light. Although it's frustrating to sit in line like this, the nice thing about it is that while you sit, you can study the scenery, and the canyon walls that rise above the road, looking at the shrubs and the budding flowers, and seeing them up close and from a still position - unlike most of the time, when you rush past them at 45 miles per hour.

Did you notice the duddleya clinging to the rock wall? did you notice the acacia tree in full golden bloom? Did you see the monkey flowers, exactly the color of orange sherbet, blooming against the buff colored rocks?

Well, the next time you are stuck in traffic, take the time to look around. There's always something to see when you're standing still enough to notice it.


JCK said...

You're so lucky to live where you do with that exquisite canyon! :)

Great reminder to stop and look around you.

I'm adding you to my blogroll!

pedestrian said...

I'm a car-free commuter, so you would think that it would be easier for me to stop and smell the roses, but it is not. I have gotten so used to my route that on more than one occasion I have tried to go somewhere else and ended up at work instead, purely out of habit.