Thankful For the Road That Gives Us Some Lessons in Life

On Thursday, November 26, we will sit down in our homes and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal.  The menus are going to vary.  But we will all sit down with family and friends and think about our blessings.  We do the thanking part every day, but on that day we will know that everyone else, besides just us, is also thinking about being thankful.  My home will not be different. 

Thoughts like these were on my mind while driving back from school on 360. I asked my son what he was thankful for and without batting an eyelid, he smiled his mischievous smile and said, ‘You!’   ‘Seriously?’ I replied and went on to disqualify some given answers like family, friends and life.  I wanted him to come up with something new as I scanned the GPS for pockets of light traffic in the clogged red strip of 360.  Sameer was silent.  I changed lanes as a car slowed down to give me way and waved an automatic thank you.    

‘I am thankful for the ability to be able to decide what to say, and be able to do what I want,’ said Sameer, continuing our conversation.  ‘Aha!’ I thought.  ‘Now I can not force him to come up with anything else because he can remain silent if he wishes.’ A cyclist waving at the Bee Caves exit on 360 abruptly interrupted my thoughts. 

Nothing has stopped the influx of cyclists on 360 although a number of fatalities have happened in the last twenty years.  I was thankful there was only one at this time of rush hour. It was easy to understand why 360 had been a favorite route for cyclists.  The wide shoulder on either side of the road provides a safety buffer, the greenbelt with jutting rocks and sudden ravines an exquisite view, and the gradual slope the right exercise.  The cyclists and their colorful attire are equally a part of the serene landscape of 360.

‘And no billboards!’ I voiced my thoughts aloud.  I looked at my son in his own thoughts.  I too had been a daydreamer.  I would think up of stories as my parents drove us to picnic spots on the foothills of the Himalayas.  Uninterrupted landscape is the right atmosphere for developing imagination. 

Our car inched forward and we came to a dead stop near the scenic view on the right.  We both scanned the Austin skyline.  So much had changed.  What was the stand alone Frost Bank was now a cluster of twenty or so buildings and one had to search for the Frost Towers.  Some cars had stopped to take pictures.

We kept on going our way chitchatting occasionally.  The silver SUV ahead of me turned right on Westlake Drive.  I followed it with my eyes for a second as I crossed the light quite sure that all the cars that make their way through 360 develop a temporary brotherhood.  We all watch out for each other, give way and wave in gratitude.  Our exit for 2222 soon came and we hurried home looking forward to the evening and leaving behind a road that silently lets us have family moments and forces us to slow down and appreciate our good life.