Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ivanhoe Road

I had an epiphany the other morning while driving in my car. An epiphany in a car is almost as dangerous as a spider, I nearly drove off the road. Sometimes it really IS just how you choose to look at things that determines what you see. And if that doesn't make sense to you, I'll try and illustrate it with these photos of my neighborhood.

This is a little side road, off the beaten track, near my home where I walk every morning. Even though there are homes along the way, I never see anybody in them, there are never any cars or people. It's just quiet and other-worldly, quite different from the noisy middle class neighborhood my tiny house sits in, where I hear roofs being repaired, the hum of the freeway, kids screaming and trees being cut down, lawns being mowed. You know, the usual never-ending racket of summer in the burbs.

But just a few blocks away is Ivanhoe Road, a secret escape where I can walk and feel as if I am on vacation a thousand miles away.

There are marshlands and prairie grasses flooded with sunlight, and all I hear is the silence broken only by the wind or the birds and the frogs.
OK, you get the picture. Now it's important to note here that there is a big tall fence in the background of this picture. You can't see it, it's hidden by the foliage in the background. It was ages before I even noticed it.

Here's the picture taken the day of my epiphany. I was driving along humming a tune thinking of the groceries I had just picked up and how they were probably melting when I looked out my window. OMG, there was that fence! That meant that Ivanhoe Road was right on the other side, but I couldn't see it because of all the foliage. That meant that for years I had been driving down this road to the grocery store, going past this strip mall and all the urban blight that was so annoying, and hidden on the other side of these trees was Ivanhoe Road. My Paradise Lost was right next to a mall. Only 50 feet away! What a difference 50 feet made - it was like living in a dual reality. It made me wonder about the rest of my life, and how I could look at it. Ivanhoe Road and the strip mall were almost the same, it just was a matter of sliding a little more this way or a little more that way that determined whether you were experiencing heaven or hell.

This sounds so dumb. One person's epiphany is another person's "well, yeah...". You just had to be there.