It’s fully spring in upstate New York, the place that defies spring until the very end. It may not completely last- we’re still holding out for another frost before May, and planting must wait til winter stops being such a jerk and stops freezing our flowers off. But this week has been an incredible one, warm and sunny and breezy. It makes me anxious to take off and explore the region. I’m a big fan of hiking and we do a lot of that in our family. But spring, against all ethical and historical desires in my bones, really makes me want to hop in a car and explore.
I have a love/hate relationship with my car. I prefer having a newer car that is without any mechanical problems at all, and can just cart me all over the country whenever I wish. I don’t always have that opportunity, though. And the ethics of buying new really bothers me, when I know that older cars being well maintained is the best way to be a responsible citizen of the Earth. But I want to move through the country, over roads and through villages, and car repair just slows that process down. I want the perks of the car! I love asphalt, I love stereos playing Pixies while I crest ridges. I’m a spoiled 20th century boy, I suppose.
But spring means getting out into the world, and I can’t really wait for that. I’m thinking a new car may be my best choice for an exciting voyage into spring and summer travel. I can hear that voice in the back of my head telling me to take public transport to a good hiking trail and just go. I can hear my son, the boy who hates all polluting machines and curses modernity, saying the same thing. ANd he’s right.
There’s nothing quite like the car for getting out into nature, though. I wish I could say my experience was different, but it isn’t. The car is just a fantastic tool for exploring a country the size of the United States. I’d give anything for an awesome rail network like Japan has, or a clean and comfortable bus system that takes you everywhere safely. But we don’t have it. So, spring means thinking cars and trails. Spring means silencing that voice in my head and from my son’s seat saying I shouldn’t like my car as much as I do.
And spring means rolling through forests and fields over tarmac and grinning like a madman with a petrol addiction.