| Photo by Phil Varney via Flickr/Commons CC-PDM-1.0
This time of the year, back in the day of my commute to work downstate in New York, driving along the Taconic State Parkway made for a pleasant trip. I barely noticed the more than an hour-long trip. It was a hike for me to get to work and back since I changed jobs, but work was fifteen minutes away for decades.
Driving to the new job was a slow adjustment, and each season brought its special challenges to driving. Spring brought a great deal of rain and mud on the car’s windshield. The leftover salt on the road from the past winter is nasty when mixed with mud and rain. They coat the car’s windshield and turn them opaque while driving after a good downpour. I make sure I have plenty of windshield washer fluid in the tank lest I get into serious trouble while driving and figuring out what’s ahead of me.
Summer is when everyone races like maniacs on the Taconic. With still so much sunlight after work, I often wonder why everyone is in such a rush to get home or somewhere. Fall is something to look forward to though it reminds me that Winter is around the corner, and a challenging season for driving is upon me.
The Fall foliage along the Taconic provides a pleasant backdrop to my mundane daily commute. It is a different and beautiful landscape of dazzling colors, especially early in the morning when the sun is still low, and the sunlight is at its mildest. But the most dramatic and almost spiritual experience is witnessing sunset’s fading sunlight gleam on golden leaves.
I hardly listen to music while driving. Instead, I let the solitude of the moment absorb me. Fall is the best time to enjoy the sights along the way, except perhaps, for the singular danger for commuters during this time of the year: deer crossing or leaping and crashing into your windshield. Male deer are the worst during this mating season because they’re on a mission to find mates. Even among animals, we all know that lust is blind, even to an imminent death from a car collision.
“The Fall foliage along the Taconic provides a pleasant backdrop to my mundane daily commute. It is a different and beautiful landscape of dazzling colors, especially early in the morning when the sun is still low, and the sunlight is at its mildest.””
Soon the snow will come and spread a white blanket across the landscape. Driving is trickier, especially with daylight fading earlier. Maneuvering my way home in the dark in the narrow strip of the road winding up and down snowy mountains and hills is likewise treacherous. There is, however, a kind of loveliness that comes with Winter. It transforms the landscape into utter loneliness of endless stretches of snow-covered hills and valleys.
On the way home on cold winter nights, I have to look forward to a hot soup to start my dinner. As the weather got chillier and eventually freezing cold, I have many days to remember of driving along the Taconic with falling golden leaves of Fall. I would be dreaming of Christmas after Thanksgiving, counting the days when I could trek to the local farm to cut a lovely tree to adorn my living room for Christmas.
After that, New Year is just around the corner. Still driving along the lovely Taconic, now I have nothing but memories of how the year had gone by.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dr. Fernando B. Perfas is an addiction specialist who has written several books and articles on the subject. He currently provides training and consulting services to various government and non-government drug treatment agencies regarding drug treatment and prevention approaches. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.