The interstate rings its constant
chiming of tires on blacktop,
as semis and panel trucks,
SUVs and minivans zip and zing
like bees inside a school bell.
Up on the country road, you can see
the highway in the valley, hear it
hum some country song westbound
from Albany to Buffalo, or even
some sundown-bound town beyond.
As the old F-150 scratches the gravel,
pulling away, dragging its vroom
from Esperance to Cherry Valley,
its sound dwindles with the distance
like time’s sand through an hourglass.
You finally notice the trees ringing
their old songs. The same ones
played in these hills since before
the People of the Flint stalked
the white-tail oskenón:ton here.
Winged singers flit along their
flyways of spruce to maple,
ash to oak, on winds lifting wings
stringing their forever songs
from the Schoharie to the Chesapeake
and never once fish for a toll.
If you’ve read me (or known me) for very long, you know how I feel about where I live, here in what can properly be called Upstate New York. We’ve got a lot of rural country up here between the concrete and steel cities. A couple of weeks ago, I visited my cousin and his family out in the scenic and historic Schoharie Valley. You’ll come over a hill or around a corner and see why people fought and died over centuries for this patch of God’s green Earth. Before any Thruways or I-88s, Route 20, which no doubt followed farm roads, which followed Indian paths, which followed animal trails, is still one of my favorite drives. How some things haven’t changed in all that time is what I hoped to express here.