For eight years I commuted daily from my home in Canyon Lake to Johnson City where I worked. In the beginning my commute was 40-45 minutes one way. By the time I quit my job several months ago, the commute was sometimes as much as an hour.
Many people have such a commute or much worse. It can take a big chunk out of your day. I cannot complain. I especially cannot complain because my commute never included city traffic. I did not sit at stop lights or suffer with stop and go traffic. My commute took me through the countryside. In fact, with the exception of road repairs, a wreck or a tractor slowing down traffic on two lane roads, it was pretty nice.
Driving time gave me time to think, to anticipate the workday, to decompress at the end of a long day. Often, I would allow my mind to wander but I also listened (and sang loudly and badly along) to music or the news, the occasional audio book or perhaps NPR.
Part of my commute included a view of the lake; in the morning that might mean a sunrise over the lake or a full moon in winter when days are short. In the afternoon I might sight a motorboat whizzing across the water from a distance, reminding me that I am homeward bound to the world of water sports.
I always had to watch carefully for deer, especially in the dark. The fact that I never hit a deer, something that is common out here, is a minor miracle. Over the years, I have spotted, besides deer, hawks, foxes, wild pigs, and the occasional roadrunner. As cautious as I had to be for them, I always marveled at the wildlife along the way and often wished for company to share the experience.
There was also roadkill to carefully swerve from; raccoons, armadillos, deer, and smelly skunks made their way to the path of passing vehicles.
I drove through every kind of weather, of course. Driving rain and lightning storms would sometimes force me to pull over for a while. There was the occasional sleet or snow or hail or tornado warnings too. Central Texas is notorious for flooding and I had several low water crossings along my route, making me anxious to get home before the rain fell too heavily.
Once, I left the house in a driving rain only to make it about a mile and a half before pulling over into the parking lot of a local diner. This put me between low water crossings so that I could not make it to work, nor could I return home. Along with other stranded souls, I waited out the deluge in the café, eating a hearty breakfast and making new friends.
Always in the Spring, I delighted in the abundance of wildflowers. With a big thank you to Lady Bird Johnson, my commute was often absolutely gorgeous. Acres of bluebonnets from the end of February through March or so led to Indian Paintbrush, Winecups (a personal favorite, so fragile but bright), Black-Eyed Susans and Queen Anne’s Lace. Then the yucca blooms and the Mountain Laurels. Well into fall something blooms.
In spite of all the days that I rolled into my driveway tired and world weary, the drive was pretty nice. Still, I am grateful I no longer have to make that commute.
Always, the best part of my commute was turning on to our little street, passing through the gate, driving under the canopy of trees and seeing our river flowing idly by. I was home.
Heading south toward home on Hwy 281