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Tuesday, September 02, 2003  

So what did we do yesterday? We went on a ramble.

A favorite pastime of ours is to take the DeLorme’s atlas (There’s one for your state too), pick a county, get there fairly directly, and then take every back road we can. Yesterday’s destination was Dinwiddie County, south of Petersburg, home of King’s Barbecue, alas, sadly for us, always closed on Mondays.

Dinwiddie is just on the edge of the Richmond media snow-school-closing circle and I always used to envy them, since rural schools close more than urban schools. I always wondered how someplace south of us could have more snow than we did. I had to move to the country to realize just how long it takes snow to melt on roads that lie to the north of a pine forest. “Even when the temperatures hit 60 during the day, come nightfall or cool early morning, you can hit black ice and run off the road.” saith the gal who did so back in ‘94.

This is the land of enormous pine tree deserts, and not much else. It used to grow more tobacco and peanuts, and it still does, but tree farms are the main crop these days. There’s a low flat southern feel to the land south of Richmond. It feels a lot more like North Carolina than the Virginia I am used to. I’m always surprised to realize that the NC border is only 50 miles away. I guess that’s because every teenager in Richmond makes his first long drive to Virginia Beach, which seems south, but is really south east and it’s 100 miles away. So, Carolina must be 100 miles too. It’s a perception thing.

Part of the reason we headed south was a long tease from BD who wanted to prove to me that there really is a Prince George county in VA. When we crossed the county line I got out of the car and salaamed.

What is it about September that makes everything feel different? It was still hot - though the day started out cool and gray, by the time we hit Hanover County the sun was peeking out and I am sure the temperature got up close to 90 by mid-afternoon. But the light is different. The smells. The cricket serenades along country roads. Of course the flowers are very Septemberish - Tickseed, Partridge Pea, Goldenrod, Meadow Beauty, Knotweed, Ironweed, and the deep vivid Morning Glories.

Perhaps it is the slant of the sun, sending its rays into the trees at acute angles. Perhaps it is just the deep inner memory of school starting - and what could be a greater reminder of that, than the yards dotted with yellow school busses. Whatever the reason - or combination of reasons - yesterday felt like an autumn ramble. It won’t be long till I am glad for a blanket on the bed and a sweater on my back.

I got one pattern done on the SGV, but mostly I wanted to look, since we were in new territory. Also, I did some of the driving. I can drive. I do drive. But I don’t enjoy driving. Usually I navigate, but this day BD wanted to try some complicated back routes, both going and coming, and since the latter freed us from having to go through any cities, I willingly took the wheel. Besides, there is something deliciously luxurious about pointing your car down a thin blue ribbon of road that is nosing its way into a lush green tunnel - maybe even heading down to some little stream spanned by a rumbling wooden bridge.

We were home by 7:30 to an easy dinner of steamed shrimp and an episode of Pride and Prejudice on the VCR. A laborless Labor Day.

And this, courtesy of Bossy Little Dog, and quizilla, for a chuckle.

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posted by Bess | 7:14 AM