When it comes to driving, I consider myself the practical sort. I go from point A to point B without much mind about all that stuff in between. It’s not that I zone out while I’m driving–of course I pay attention to the traffic–but I don’t contemplate much on the scenery. It’s like reading a book. Once you’re reading, how much attention is really paid to the typeface, the paper quality, the formatting of the text? Not much–unless it causes considerable eyestrain.
But sometimes the scenery is beautiful for its own sake. The example that immediately comes to mind is the Lewiston grade on Highway 95, heading south. You’re winding down among the steep landforms and if you keep your foot off the gas pedal (which you should), you’d feel like you’re flying into a tiny, hidden valley.
Going up the grade is another matter. Most of the time, you’re just concentrating on keeping a constant speed as your vehicle climbs. And you’re also keeping half an eye on the extreme traffic–either you’re a semi going 20 mph or a smaller four-wheeler flying out of there like a bat out of hell. But earlier today, in the late afternoon, the scenery really startled me. So much so that I fancied that I had briefly driven through an alternate dimension.
I was at a point in the grade where the mountains jutted out like fingers. And these fingers were a frame for a teal sky and a frighteningly large moon with the texture of a gray horse’s hide. It was as outrageous as a 60s sci-fi set. The landscape in words might sound like a mundane one. But for some reason, that moment in time, nature on the other side of the windshield struck me as weird and awesome. Or maybe I’ve spent too much time in lab and too little time looking up at the sky.
At least I didn’t mistake the moon as a UFO.