the lane

The Lane, Winter 2014

A small, badly paved road crossed through a forest, east to west, connecting the fields on either side. Its double yellow lines were single or dashed at best and invisible at worst, but in front of my driveway a small patch of cracked double lines remained. In the summers, I would stand in the middle of the road, one bare foot on each line, and see how long I could let the asphalt burn the soles of my feet. No cars would go by, so I could stand there as long as I could stand it.

The city had slapped patch on top of patch of asphalt over the inevitable potholes from winters of frost heaves and damage done from oversized plow trucks roaring down the narrow Lane. I would see signs – not on my road, but on others – construction orange signs with the words “FROST HEAVES” marked out in big black letters. One time, as we sped by, I asked why the signs said “forest heavens”. When I discovered my error, I was less interested in the explanation.

The Lane rarely gets repaved completely. The second to last time it happened was in the late ’80s. The most recent time was this spring.

The Lane, Summer 2016, repaved. Photo credit goes to a good neighbor with a great sense of humor.

There are obvious reasons to like this change and obvious reasons to dislike it. For one, the road looks a little strange to me now. I haven’t been back since they repaved, and I can’t imagine driving down the Lane without having to drastically slow down halfway, where there was always (or, for twenty years or more) a large, broken patch threatening to bottom out the car.

Practically speaking, these things don’t affect me anymore. I no longer live in my childhood house, but if I did (at risk of dating myself), I would absolutely buy a new Razor scooter to zoom across the unbroken asphalt. Growing up I could, of course, only ride unhindered on the short new patches they would sometimes add to our patchwork Lane.

The winters with their frost heaves and plows will return, and soon enough the little Lane will go back to its old self again – a rustic forest heaven among glitzy highways.


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