Cursed cruise control
A mind-numbing way to drive
Much less live your life
(To see the entire collection of ”Highway Haiku,” click here)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 4th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: america, control, cruise, cruise control, dog's country, dogscountry, driving, haiku, highway, highway haiku, interstate, poetry, road, road trip, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace
“Crop names in fence lines next 14 miles,” reads a sign on Interstate 90, somewhere west of Moses Lake and east of a town named George.
I like this idea. For one thing, it turns a fairly boring drive into a learning experience. For another, possibly, it makes people a little more aware of/involved in the place they’re at — as opposed to the text they’re sending, the video game they’re playing, or the cell phone on which they’re blabbing.
It’s kind of like a picture book for kids: Here is the field corn, here is the alfalfa. You don’t even have to turn the page, just your head. On your left, potatoes; on your right, peppermint. Here is a field of … wheat. Here is a field of … grapes (wrathless variety, it appeared). Here is some Timothy. Timothy? (It’s a kind of hay.)
For 14 miles, on both sides of the highway, I got a lesson in agriculture — thanks to, I’d guess, the state or some agricultural commission. I wanted to learn more about crops, including why every state seems to package its hay differently. But the lesson came to an end; and as I progressed west, instead of crop signs, the only ones I saw in the fence lines — not counting those of politicians — said “For Sale.”
It struck me as a good idea, though, all this labeling and identifying — one that, if carried to extremes, could both create jobs and lead to a more informed public.
In addition to crop identifiers, why not farm animal identifiers: Sheep, goats, cows, llamas? Tree identifiers that would help us differentiate between our birch and our aspen? Factory identifiers that tell us what’s being made inside that big building? A much needed explanation of what silos (a) hold and (b) are for? The American public would get a better understanding of the importance of farming, and everything else we take for granted.
(Label this idea satire, but only kind of.)
Of course we don’t want drivers reading signs so much that they neglect their driving, but it’s nice to see signs that inform, instead of those that merely advertise, or give harsh orders — as if we were dogs or something: “No this … No that … Stay in lane … Right lane must exit … ”
I’m tired, too, of the signs that scare us: Dangerous Crosswinds Ahead, Watch for Ice, High Accident Area, Gas: $3.15.
We tend to readily identify dangers, we profusely post rules, we slap advertising everywhere — so why not label the run of the mill good stuff, like cows and creeks, steaming bowls of oatmeal and doers of good deeds?
My label-everything-on-earth plan could help the economy. Think of all the jobs. Think of the stimulus. We would need more signmakers, more sign putter-uppers, more sign repairers, more sign changers — for when the crops are rotated, or the landscape changes.
Maybe knowing what’s what would help us appreciate our Earth a little more, teach us to better “live in the moment.” Or maybe not. In any event, here’s the one I want to see:
A sign that the economy is improving.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agriculture, alfalfa, america, animals, crop, crop identifiers, crops, dog's country, dogscountry, driving, earth, economy, farmers, farming, farmland, farms, fence line, field corn, george, grapes, jobs, labels, living in the moment, peppermint, pets, road trip, rural, signs, stimulus, tourism, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, washington, wheat
Posted by jwoestendiek November 7th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, conifer, diversi-tree, diversity, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, driving, evergreens, golden, haiku, highway, highway haiku, pets, poetry, road, road trip, tamarack, travel, travels with ace, tree, trees
Shivers climb my spine
When you vibrate my behind
I think you’re groovy
(Highway Haiku is a semi-regular feature of “Travels with Ace.” To read them all, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: driving, grooves, haiku, highway, highway haiku, pavement, poetry, road, road trip, rumble, rumble strip, strip, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace
With leaves getting past their peak, turning brown and taking a dive — at least up north — my journey is losing some of its luster.
And I’m losing one of the ways I pass the time while driving: Soon, the kudzu dogs will be gone.
As some of you may remember, I got a little wrapped up in kudzu growing in the shape of dogs while I was traveling through the south. I kept seeing kudzu dogs as I progressed north — kudzu not being strictly a southern phenomenon anymore.
I saw several along the New York State Thruway, but none as good as the green ones I saw down south. The thruway doesn’t lend itself to pulling over — prohibits it, actually, except in the case of emergencies. So I refrained from stopping and taking pictures, figuring “but officer, I saw a kudzu dog,” wouldn’t quite qualify.
Those I did see — kudzu not changing colors as crisply and vibrantly as some other leaves — looked a little dappled and mangy. When the fast growing vines finally call it a season and stop their climbing, the leaves turn brown, making only a quick stop at yellow.
Soon, the vines will be bare, and I’ll have to resort to other ways of passing the drive time — like dictating brilliant thoughts into my voice recorder that, when I listen to them the next day, aren’t that brilliant at all; singing, babbling, talking to the dog, or guessing which part of my back is going to start hurting next.
Soon, all the trees will revert to skeletons, and only the evergreens will be there to enjoy — and you can’t find dogs in evergreens. Can you?
Posted by jwoestendiek October 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: autumn, colors, dog, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, driving, fall, falling, foliage, highway, hudson river, kudzu, kudzu dogs, leaves, lighthouse, nature, new york, peak, photography, road, road trip, saugerties, shapes, thruway, travel, travels with ace