November 18, 2010

Taking a Drive

I don’t know exactly when it started, but lately we’ve been taking a short drive to the local store just to “pick something up”. At first, it was because I needed milk, or bread, or some other must-have food item that needed to be purchased before dawn, then it became more of a nightly ritual. Coats on, hands stuffed in gloves, we’d stomp out to the still warm car David just returned home in to grab 20 minutes of quiet, adult time.

The peaceful drive through the woods, with just the sounds of our tires rolling over crushed stone and dirt roads, made the mundane chore of shopping seem like an adventure. During these twilight hours, we would spot deer running home for their supper while we watched the moon rise higher and higher in the sky. We’d tell silly jokes to break up the routine of recounting our day, and we’d hold hands like teenagers on their first date. 

When I was a child, my parents would shuffle my sister and me into the car and we'd all go for a long ride to nowhere. There was never any real destination that I knew of, just an opportunity to find someplace new. Sometimes we drove so far we'd end up in a different state (which come to think of it isn’t so hard to do in New England). At Christmastime, we would tour the neighborhoods just to look at the lights and marvel in their magic.

As we left the house last Saturday before the sun was up, I was reminded of how many times we would begin one New England vacation after another while the birds were still fast asleep. By breakfast time we had arrived at our destination. There's just something about taking a drive at night, all snuggled in your PJ's with a thermos of hot chocolate by your side that creates a sense of wonder and peace.

Soon, we will take our children out to the car, bundled in their own pajamas and with their own thermos of hot chocolate, to watch the snowflakes fly and embrace the beauty of winter. But we’ll still keep the drive to the store to ourselves.