I have a car.* I say it with the half-reverent half-gleeful tones of Meg Ryan saying "I have mail!" I have a car. I hear not a sound on the city streets, just the beat of my own heart (well, that and the radio).
I went for a drive into the mountains after work tonight, and was astonished again by how amazing this little corner of the world is. I live in a city that, while not large, is too big to make it onto Garrison Keilor's talent show. It's surrounded by rolling wheat fields, and mountains -- real ones, with pine trees and air that feels colder the longer you drive -- are only minutes away. If you need something from a real city, it's only an hour's drive away.
Of course, it's still the kind of place where they name the 7-mile long bit of road "Four Mile Road." But I saw the most beautiful doe on the side of the road, right before she ran across the road and jumped the fence on the other side. And when I came back into town, driving along F street, I saw two racoons. Racoons, people! I only saw one at first, running across the road, and thought it was a cat. But as I slowed down for it, the tail looked odd. So I whipped a u-turn, pulled onto the wrong side of the road, and stared: it really was a 'coon, sitting in the middle of someone's yard! And as I turned around again, I saw it run off after another one towards the creek.
*Only for the summer, and it's not really mine. But I still get to drive it.