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Country Road - Summer (Image 2)

Country Road – Summer (Pt. Two - continued from Image One) ~ Somewhere near Aroma Park, (pop. 850), Kankakee County, 55 miles south of Chicago, Illinois.


Driving along the back roads, time shifts. It ceases to run by my watch; moving instead at the speed of the sun inching across the sky, and of shadows creeping – molasses slow - across the ground. ~ View On Black


Different sounds – grasshoppers, cicadas, birds, the rustle of plant and leaves – replace the sound of the radio and my precious jazz. I have to turn it off, lest I miss nature’s own symphony of the subtle, the intermittent and the natural. Sounds without melody can be cacophony; in the city they are. But here - unscripted, unrehearsed, eons old – they are harmony.


“Who lives out here,” I wonder, as I pass neat and tidy, 100-year-old white-washed frame houses with swing-benches and flower pots hanging serenely on the porches. On occasion, one sees a sign of life; someone in a tractor way out in a field or watering a garden near the house. If you wave at them, they’ll usually wave back. “What are their lives like?” I try to imagine “these lives” as I drive along these quiet little roads nestled between rows of corn stalks setback along roadside buffer strips of hay-like mown grass. Sometimes, I think can. Usually, I can’t. Perhaps I am just romanticizing the whole thing.


Eventually though, dusty, lonesome, black-topped roads evolve into paved streets with divider lines, stop signs, stop lights and names instead of numbers like 50525 S. The streets lead to highways and speeds of 75 miles-per-hour. The windows go up, the air conditioning and music go back on, and big green and white signs point the way to Chicago.


But, my mind’s eye usually holds onto those little “country road – summer” images for the rest of the drive home.


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Taken on August 2, 2008