Life Is A Highway

Life is a highway

Whenever I visit my friend, Jules, holiday house down south I am struck by a feeling of carefree recklessness as I drive along the highway. Highways do that to me. I think they are the single greatest man made metaphor for change. All those people going somewhere, coming back from somewhere, throws an irresistible tonic of exhilaration up into the air. I want to put a sign through the sun roof, complete with streamers and flags that says : Life is a highway, I wanna ride it all night long.

I like how the scenery changes the further you get out of the city.

The houses, so closely packed together in the inner city, begin to spread further and further apart with each kilometre that is thrown behind us.

Blocks of farmland appear, quickly as dots. Farmers gaze down on autumn pastures, still as an oil painting. I realise that it’s really only the poets or the songwriters who can successfully describe the scenery that changes swift as blinking.

We see tractors, cows, sheep, grain silos. We wonder how the livestock can digest the grass bleached blonder than a Hollywood starlet’s hair. We cheer at the free range chicken farm and boo and hiss at the one with cages.

We give a thumbs up sign to fellow drivers who are listening to Kings of Leon like us, switching over to Steppenwolf’s Born To Be Wild. All of a sudden two carloads of people who are strangers bond over the opening lines, singing like friends:

Get your motor runnin’

Get out on the highway

We see a man and woman arguing, looking at a map upside down; and laugh as two kids whose Dad has pulled over to the side of the road, pull down their pants and present us with their flaming white butts.

The sound of traffic, continuous as breathing, is comforting as the wind brushing the windows at night. We wish the highway could be like the ever expanding horizon so we could always drink in the laughter and sense of eternity it brings.

End of highway

But as we near our destination the highway ends and the single lane country roads appear. The bush grows right up to the edges of the road. We look out for kangaroos, wombats crossing. Kookaburras, cockatoos, magpies chart our course. We must be careful of the sudden bends in the road, the country traffic cops who lurk at railway crossings, whom we have learned from bitter experience have no sense of humour when it comes to Sydneysiders.

The rush, the pace, the sensation of flight has ended; but there are other joys to be had on these country roads full to the brim with sights and sounds that throw colour into the day.

And at the end of the road, jumping with glee, is an old friend, her face as welcoming as a lamp left on at night in a window; who reminds us that no matter how joyful the journey there is nothing like arriving home.

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16 thoughts on “Life Is A Highway

  1. >>We see a man and woman arguing, looking at a map upside down;<<

    What’s the betting he used to be in the Services, and was orienting his map?

    Not really keen on our main roads; you’re too busy concentrating on survival to watch the scenery. But, country roads! If I stopped to photograph all I wanted to, I’d never get there.

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  2. NANNA:
    One day I’m going to drive through America in a convertible. It’s one of my dreams!

    TRAVELRAT:
    He probably was, come to think of it. There is that element of survival on the busy roads, I must admit. People are such crazy drivers. And you’re right – there is so much to see on the country roads. I love it!

    LIBRAGIRL:
    I’ve never seen a deer in the wild. That would be amazing. Kangaroos actually give you a fright if they jump across the road. They are big animals and really quick movers. And if they hit your car, it’ll be the car that comes off worst. Great to hear from you!

    GROOVY:
    Aww, thanks, Groovy!

    OTTO:
    Now come on….everyone knows it’s you guys who drive on the wrong side of the road. 😉

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  3. >>I hop you know you are driving on the wrong side of the road! <<

    Except in ‘The Thorn Birds’ 😀

    Actually, one ouside the cities, Aussies tend to drive on either the shady side of the road, or the side with the least potholes.

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  4. TRAVELRAT:
    Did they really drive on the US side of the road in The Thorn Birds? I didn’t know that. Don’t think Colleen McCullough would have been too happy about that!

    I always try to drive in the middle of the road in the country – in case anything darts out from the bush….

    KAREN:
    Road trips are fun. One day I will do that American one. One day….

    PWADJ:
    My sister lived in Tahoe for a couple of years and she often talked about that trip. It sounds absolutely glorious!

    PAUL:
    it is a good song. I’ve always enjoyed it. Glad you liked it, hon!

    TEXASBLU:
    You have all those wide open spaces in the US that I love. The going is the best part, isn’t it?

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