I mean, how much more fertile can an idea be?
It’s one of those all-purpose metaphors, like comparing Life to a Garden , and going through Life as doing the work of a vigorous tender of the land. Every flower, every plant, dead or alive, every tree or hillock of soil can represent this, that or the other of a human life, and the methods we use, all underscored by the very necessary patience it takes to raise a good garden, a productive one, a “good” one….with plenty of examples of “bad”, incautious gardening and neglect along the way. A garden as a cautionary tale, told by someone with fingers aching to get into the muddy soil. And we all have those aching fingers.
But the body as a highway?
The BODY IS NOTHING IF NOT A HIGHWAY, and though mine started back in the late 1940’s, (ok ,here we go with the metaphors), mine has a goodly amount (too much in fact)of solid pavement left on which to continue my journey. Oh sure, there are cracks and knee replacements, and potholes and far too much weedy vegetation lining the sides of this road of mine, but its a clear road, capable of carrying a lot, and serving as a passage to wondrous sights. It has its wildflowers too. Lots of those.
Which reminds me of one particular highway i have loved since first traveling it, in SouthWest Virginia : The famous Lee Highway, traversing through and showing off all that that old distinguished name implies. It is rural and relatively little used since the Eisenhower Freeway system took over the tasks with its broad modern shoulders to carry people across this country, in the 1950’s, shortly after World War 2.
The Lee Highway, far more fun to drive than the ugly sterile newer super highways, soon got you from Abingdon, Virginia (on your way to the newest Walmart Superstore or next small town), also escorted you to the once extremely popular Dixie Pottery, where if was ever manufactured or grown, you could find it there. Acres and acres of stuff, all the way from creepy marble garden statuettes to a wall full of every nation’s flag in miniature; pecan rolls to Divinity fudge; straw furniture to cheap reproductions of early American sideboards; packages of every southern food imaginable, and countless gravies to cover that food. Iron pots and pans that looked old before you even used them. A collection of old candies your teeth would forever regret knowing about. ….Dixie Pottery was amazing. And the candles? Please! A most fragrant part o the store, you can bet.
In fact, the whole of Dixie Pottery smelled of sugar and artifice, from apricot to sweet pea, from pumpkin spice to hydrangea….if a flower didn’t have a fragrance for a candle, Dixie Pottery assigned it one. No room for fresh air in that large warehouse. Oh yeah, and the smell of fresh popping corn for the kiddies. Always.
But, down the road from Dixie, it was the ghostly ruins of the old Robert E. Lee Motel that caught my imagination the most. If there were not ghosts crowding that old place, then there are no ghosts anywhere. The building itself looked like a specter, with 1950’s burnt out electric signage including a portrait of the Southern general himself, and large sweeping wings of balconies lined with doors to well-used rooms. A building as a ghost. The entire thing, chipping paint and draping old curtains. Solitary hangers in wrecked open closets. Or was that my imagination?
A Miss Havisham of a building.
It was finally demolished in 2009.
I fell so in love with that angular piece of Americana, a local artist’s rendering of it in fine colorful print now has a premier seat above my fireplace. My husband bought me the geclée print as a gift years ago. The Robert E. Lee Motel haunts us all the way out here in San Francisco. It speaks to me of man’s lost dreams.
It travelled with grace.
Somehow, it knows i love it. I was born in Georgia, after all.
But I would not know the doomed and sweetly tragic love of this motel if i did not have a body of my own with which to appreciate it. My eyes feast, my nose sniffs out its past and my mouth waters to know its history. OR last least I can imagine how many times Elvis and his touring bus stopped there.
Seeing the Robert E. Lee Motel is the same as ingesting it..
SO, to take metaphor further, my body and the Robert E, Lee Motel are one.
Highway and destination , a cosmic match.