I had to drive north a few months ago to get my fingerprints taken in La Grange, Texas. The Victoria branch of FAST (the fingerprinting agency) was down for a few weeks, and I needed my fingerprints taken immediately, so I found the next closest branch- in La Grange, about 70 miles away.
Getting out of Victoria is easy as there is only one main road running north and south, and as soon as I got a little bit outside of town, farms began to appear. Quaint little farms of country lore. Farm houses set deep into the crevices barely visible from the road. Ponds and barns set beside vast grazing acreage. Cattle standing, walking around, eating from the clover grass, laying in the shade. And everything was that soft grassy green or deep-hen house-red. Like I was driving into a nostalgic memory of the midwest as remembered by previous generations. This tranquil scenery lasted for almost an hour before I approached the cities of Hallettesville, an older home to businesses supporting the local farming industry, Schulenburg, a city known for dairy, and La Grange, a hip, small town where I saw a cafe, something I hadn’t seen since my move to Texas.
I had heard about people taking a “country drive,” but like a true southern Californian at heart, I see driving as mostly utilitarian, getting to where I need to be. After sitting in Orange Country traffic for 45 minutes to an hour coming home from work each day, I don’t see any fun in taking a drive. So I dismissed the idea of a “country drive” as redneck practice that used up valuable gasoline and time. This all changed the day I drove to La Grange, when I just go to soak up the scenery, driving at my own pace with almost no contact with other drivers. So peaceful, so calming, so bucolic. A novel should be set there.
Since my first trip to La Grange in early March, I have been looking for a reason to drive up in that direction again. I had been reading about the health benefits of raw milk recently, and decided I needed it to procure it for myself. This presented me with the option to drive 60 miles south to Seguin to purchase $10/gallon raw milk or travel 62 miles north again to Moulton (just south of Shulenburg) to for $5.50/gallon raw milk. No brainer: I drove to Moulton to the Four E Dairy on Thursday, where I was able to see the scenery from my previous drive, but also experience the softly rolling hills of the farm roads. Farm roads don’t even have names, just numbers. No sidewalks or lanes, just miles and acres of corn fields, pastures, ponds, barns, country homes, grass, sky, clouds and cattle. I’m just in awe of the endlessness of the land surrounding me.
I paid for my milk and took the scenery in as I drove back and began to realize I was experiencing pleasure from driving as I had never before done. For that moment, time and space ceased to exist; there was only me and the the farm country surrounding the road. What a beautiful gift God gave me, especially reminding me “a heart at peace gives life to the body. . .” (Proverbs 14:30). My heart was at peace. I didn’t expect it, especially not while driving, an activity that used to bring me so much stress. Truly, God restores us with the great beauty he created in nature.
Though you can’t tell from the picture, it’s raining. A rain shower if I ever experienced one! I wish I had taken more pictures.