Not Like a Road

Not Like a Road

Life is not very much like a road.


I don’t know who started that one. Maybe in a time or place where people had fewer choices in life or roads were less reliable.


If anything, it’s more like being dropped from a plane randomly over any kind of terrain, you have no idea ahead of time–rain forest? savannah? Siberia? most challenging of all…New York?


And while you’re dazed and confused, the plane flies off, and there you are, trying to get your bearings.

No map. People try to describe to you what landmarks to look for (Mr. Right, kids, a job), but you may or may not ever even come across them, and if you do, you may not be able to recognize them from the description. It’s not that you’re entirely on your own–you can ask friends and family to give you tips or describe those landmarks again; in fact, sometimes they’ll do that plenty without you asking–but think about how often a friend has gotten you totally and completely lost when giving you directions to her house. Something relatively straightforward, after all.

It’s up to you what you pack, or mostly up to you. Sometimes it depends on what you can find. But it’s tricky, since you have to pack for any and all eventualities, including the eventuality that you might find yourself hiking for weeks with that pack, so you want to keep it under thirty pounds.

That’s easier when you’re starting out. It gets harder as you go along. There are so many more things you don’t want to lose.

Life is not very much like a road. But sometimes you can figure out where you want to go and get there, nevertheless.


It really does look like this, you know. It smells even better.

So some people might be wondering why in the world I am not spending this June, lavender season, in Provence?

It’s because I am writing about roses. This current book is set in the rose season in Provence.

On a roseraie.
And the rose season is in May.
Very soon now!

And thinking about how this girl who grew up landlocked in a small Southern town is going off to roseraies in Provence as if it was a fairly normal part of life to do this…that’s what got me thinking about roads.

  • Dayum. Those photos make me want to be there in May *and* June!

    April 13, 2007 at 11:08 pm
  • The whole idea that there IS a rose season is just heavenly. Sounds like the best kind of research!

    April 14, 2007 at 9:16 am
  • Looks heavenly! Enjoy…and post lots of pictures, please. 🙂

    re: your comment….do you think that poem means all of life is like a road? Or just that the choices we make are similar to taking a turn in a path, with no do-overs? And since I am the type of person who WILL ask for directions but has a THING against turning around…well, I don’t know how that extrapolates to life, but it probably says something…

    April 14, 2007 at 1:28 pm
  • Well you hit the nail on the head. What a wonderful description of how crazy life is. Ohh roses, France. I would say life is pretty nice for you right now. Clarice

    April 14, 2007 at 1:51 pm
  • Yes, I’m looking forward to the roses! I just wish I could be there from the roses to the lavender (and apricots! and tomatoes!) to the jasmine to the wine harvest. Maybe another year.

    Amy, I think the poem has a good point–each choice closes off some possibilities, or makes them more difficult to obtain. But life as a road is a common image–Tolkien loved it, remember? I’ve always gone along with it, but the other day I started thinking, you know, it really isn’t like any road *I’ve* ever been on. It just made me laugh when I finished posting this and hopped over to your site to see you posting Frost’s poem using the life/road (or path) image. 🙂 It was like we were thinking about the same thing at the same time, in different ways.

    April 14, 2007 at 3:27 pm
  • Oh, well, that explains it. I never got through Tolkien. (I know, I know…) I like your imagery. It’s given me lots to ponder.

    I’m looking forward to your expat posts.

    April 14, 2007 at 6:22 pm
  • About the lavender, in France, I always marvel over how it looks just like the photos, LOL.

    I nudge my husband and smile and lift my eyebrows as discreetly as I can, not wanqting to reveal my atrocious accent, which is influenced by the way French-Canadians speak but also has a slight undertown of something very gutteral, perhaps a gift from my Aix-born French professor.

    My husband smiles back.

    About the road, it is full of forks and dead ends. About being dropped from a plane, yes, that is it exactly.

    April 15, 2007 at 11:09 am

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