In the country, the evening sky stretches as far as the eye can see. It envelopes you in shades of blue and coral awash with watercolor hues of pale lavender, vibrant orange, and fuchsia. The sun, a blinding glow in the west, sinks into the horizon. It is slow to set. You can watch it as it grows smaller and smaller. Yet, it comes as a surprise when you realize it’s gone and all of the clouds have vanished, too, disappearing into the sky as it deepens, navy to indigo to black, until all around it is suddenly dark.
There is nothing quite like the quiet calm of a starry night in the country where all you hear is silence.
Country roads, like the sky, stretch on and on and end somewhere in the horizon. The roads have no real rhyme nor reason nor logical grid. Many are narrow and unmarked. It’s easy for a city girl like me to get lost on them.
One day I did.
I was on my way home when I came upon a “Road Closed Ahead – Follow the Signs” sign. After what should have been a simple detour, I drove for what felt like miles down long country roads looking for the non-existent, never-ever-to-be-found detour signs. After a couple of hours and a couple of turns, I was still driving and hopelessly lost . . . surrounded by fields of beans, wheat, and corn with stalks taller than my car . . . on my way to god-knows-where. No road signs. No map. No hope. Not a house, car, person, dog, cat, cow, pig, pigeon, or flea in sight. Just miles and miles of farm fields, cornstalks, and road.
There’s nothing quite like being lost in the country when night is descending.
I was in a Twilight Zone episode where you drive for hours down some long lonely highway only to arrive at the place you started. Rod Serling stood somewhere in the shadows, brow furrowed and looking concerned: “You’re traveling through another dimension . . . a dimension of sight and sound.” Did I mention how tall the corn was? Flanking both sides of the narrow road, it was like a corn canyon.
I started to melt down. I remembered what happened in Children of the Corn and Deliverance and pictured a myriad of other not-so-fun scenarios. It’s a habit of mine to make mountains out of molehills, and I was rapidly descending into mindless panic. I tried not to cry, but tears had a will of their own and ran down my cheeks along with rivers of black mascara. I could see my name in the headlines of the local papers featured under STILL MISSING with a photo of me as I might have looked at the time of my disappearance. I was a sobbing mess. Not a pretty sight.
I drove . . . and drove . . . and drove until I finally came upon a small country store in the middle of nowhere where I mustered up the courage to stop for directions. The man and woman inside had never heard of the town where Tom and I lived [ insert Twilight Zone theme song here ]. Neither person had a map, and they could only point me in the general direction of another town I knew was on the way home. That’s when I realized where I was. I had been driving for over two hours, yet was only about two miles west of the original detour.
Much later . . . Tom laughed, apologized for laughing, then laughed again. He had been playing tennis while all this was going on, blissfully unaware of my plight, wondering where I was, but not the least bit worried.
In the end I laughed, too. Whenever the ridiculous happens, it always happens to me.