Thursday, November 17, 2011


Autumn in My Car Hood, Jamestown, NC

Robert Frost wrote a famous poem about a traveler in a yellow wood who came to a fork in the road. He chose the one less traveled that made all the difference in his life. When I came to a career fork in the road, I chose the engineering path. My studies focused on management efficiency and expedient processes that minimized the cost of subsequent deliverables. And that mantra served me well throughout my professional career and even spilled over into my personal life.

I really hadn’t consciously paid much attention to my travels lately, but they usually followed my ingrained pattern of the efficient infamous shortest distance between two points. It finally occurred to me that my GPS system was quite probably designed by one of my own and has been effectively directing my every turn on the road with the utmost urgency and precision. I’ve been obediently following its every command down whatever path it has chosen for me. Actually, it has served me well and saved me from innumerable missed exits and countless hours not well spent driving in the wrong direction down dead end roads. But that path is not always the most scenic or sublime. In fact, it’s probably the same path other mindless systems are leading my fellow wayfaring lemmings over the same barren cliff!

So today I vowed to break with tradition and my robotic pathfinder. I veered off the calculated path and chose a route more scenic and pleasant to my eyes and psyche. I turned onto a meandering path of blazing leaves lining curves as crooked as a dog’s hind leg. The colorful filtered light of the setting autumn sun was mirrored in my car’s hood. That path may have added an extra two minutes to my drive and an extra two years to my life. And all the while, my disembodied, electronic companion was firmly admonishing me and shouting, “Recalculating, recalculating”, as my senses were being recharged by the brilliant sights along my rogue path. As they say, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the road more scenic, and that has made all the difference today.

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