On my commute home from work yesterday, I came across a detour sign. I wasn’t running late. I had no particular place to be. Yet, I felt totally inconvenienced. Not only was the detour route ambiguous, but I had not traveled those country roads in ages. The ride home felt like it took twice as long on this new route. I would make a mental note to check for an alternate route for the morning.
This morning I left for work, completely forgetting about the detoured route from yesterday. Imagine my surprise when I, once again, happened upon this same sign. Feeling frustrated with my memory lapse, I trekked along back roads. Something was different this time. The countryside was glistening in the sunlight. Cows were grazing, untempered by time restraints and urgency. I slowed for something that appeared to be crossing the road. Was that a turkey? No wait, could it really be? I caught a glimpse of its glorious colored plumes as the peacock waddled away from me. It wasn’t long before I came to a familiar main highway. I arrived at work … five minutes early.
Detours are funny things. They are intended to reroute you, but deliver you to the same destination. When one road may be closed, another (or a series of others) may show you more than the original route ever could.
We fall into patterns. The detour sign that ambushed me was posted long before the road was closed … so commuters could prepare. I had driven past this sign for three weeks. Taking the same route every time can make us oblivious to what surrounds us. An alternate route teaches us to be observers, to be connected to our surroundings, to be humbled.
I’m not sure which route I will travel home today, but I do know that it will have much to show me.