I like to take what my five-year-old grandson calls a drive to nowhere, to get in the car and discover what is out there. Recently my husband and I drove to Mt. Holly, NJ, an historic town that has a revolutionary war history. The old stone houses recall its glory days, though the town has seen some hard times since. As we drove around we found a wooded area tucked behind its busy Main Street. We got out to explore. There was a leafy, trodden path that led up a hill. It was a lovely day so we took our time to climb. Along the way a jogger appeared. “Quite a hill,” he said as he continued past us. Yes, it was, and quite a view from the top.
Was this a virgin forest? How come it hadn’t been developed? Hills usually are no impediment to a bulldozer. But I was glad it had been left alone. There were a few survey markers along the path but otherwise we had the world to ourselves. It was an exhilarating feeling, primal and beautiful. We finally wended our way back toward the road, skirting the houses on the edge of the woods. Our drive to nowhere led us to a grand place.I can understand an explorer’s impetus to go beyond the accepted knowledge. The familiar often fades into the background. A drive or walk to nowhere brings out qualities of nature, not that they are hidden but rather they are overlooked. Busy lives leave little room for slow observation. Every now and then it is worth setting aside the known for the new. Something fresh, seen with open eyes and an inquisitive mind, expands the spirit. And that, to me, really makes it a drive to somewhere worthwhile.