Cruising with change

Now that spring has arrived, I’m back to one of my favorite habits – cruising the open road.

It’s not in my nature to stay in one place for very long, but winter weather often hinders my travels.

I’ve had spring fever since November. So when the snow melts and the weather is well, it’s nearly habit for me to jump in the car and cruise throughout northwest Iowa.

Sometimes I end up visiting someone special. Sometimes I end up discovering someplace new. Sometimes I find old places that hold new adventures.

Last week, I went on my first “cruise” of the season and landed myself on memory lane. I put a couple hundred miles on my car, and it’s not at all important where I went. What was important to me was that I went.

I saw one of my favorite little antique shops now altered into a ritzy supper club. I drove by a place I used to live and realized that nothing there would be the same. I saw a park that hasn’t changed since my parents were young. I saw a familiar flower bed that’s always changing, but is still a constant in some ways. I talked with new people and old people and bunnies and squirrels. I listened to the talk of trees and the whisper of wind. And at the end of the trip, I looked up at the stars – forever the same, regardless of whatever rises or falls beneath them.

I thought of the irony that the unchanging sky looks different depending on the moon, the weather and the season.

I parked my car in the driveway at the end of the cruise and felt fulfilled.

I’ve heard it said that many people have their best ideas in the shower. My best ideas come to me on the open road. While both offer their own difficulties in taking notes, my note taking was successful this time.

On an old piece of paper in sloppy driver-distracted handwriting, there’s a new realization penned that marks my lesson from the first spring cruise: “When you go to a place that has changed, you see how you have remained the same. When you go to a place that has remained the same, you see how you have changed.”