If you live on an unpaved road, you develop fellow feeling for your neighbors. It’s not the same as a neighborhood, more like a mutual complaint society about maintenance and a secret delight in watching the year unfold along the roadside. We open our car windows to breathe the scent of wild plums in April. Horseback riders and joggers inhale the fragrance of dogwood, sweet rocket and wild roses in May.
Even the nearest blacktop is a bit primitive. Some of us call it a paved dirt road. The folks in a hamlet just off the blacktop decided to pave their main drag several years ago. It’s only about a mile long, but the asphalt heaves and buckles and cracks all year. Drivers swerve across it randomly, avoiding potholes and washboards. There’s a warning sign just before the crest of the last paved hill. A local wit edited it with press-on letters.
Elderberry and day lilies usually line the ditches in June, but this year they’re starting early. A utility crew cut a swath of small trees and underbrush beside my stretch of the road last year. Mother Elder has reclaimed it all. Her frothy white fronds are budding among poke and ragweed. The witch of the woods is back.