Today I had a few hours of free time. Although it's always tempting to fill those hours with something "productive," this afternoon something possessed me to just take a drive. Maybe it was the song on the radio, the thoughts I was mulling over, or perhaps something inside me just needed to take a little break. So, instead of making a direct run toward completing a few more errands, when I came to that stop sign, I turned left instead of right.

Taking that left lead me away from the hustle and bustle of town and toward a sleepy maze of back roads. We have a ton of those in East Texas. It's one of the things I love most about living here. Despite our various thriving communities, it's still nice to be able to "escape" out into what I affectionately refer to as our "green cathedrals."

You know the kind of which I speak. It's a little wilder on those roads. Although I love ordered outside spaces, sometimes what we need is to wander around and take a drive under a canopy of overgrown green, accompanied by those songs. You know, the ones that you turn way up, that take your mind off of whatever is preoccupying your mind at the time, and transport you to another mental space.

It took about ten minutes for me to finally relax and let the country drive soothe my mental processes. I rolled the windows down, opened the moon-roof, and went into zen mode. It didn't take much humming and singing along while the trees rushed past that I started to kinda float into a daydream. I started pondering things I hadn't thought of in awhile. You have those, too. The thoughts and hopes and goals you meditate on when enough time in solitude works its creative magic on you. I find driving a particularly helpful way to achieve this, when you're less distracted by things--even, or especially, when you're at home.

It's interesting too, how the music we listen to can become a soundtrack to our daydreams. Music is so powerful, it can change the entire mood of the day. (Use wisely.) I particularly love certain genres, and the station's lineup today took me on a musical journey that made me laugh, cry, remember, and ponder all of the things I needed to ponder, but that I tend to set aside in the busyness of my days.

When I finally got home as the sun was setting, it was like I'd had a catharsis--a kind of spiritual cleansing. I felt way more relaxed and ready to dig into the evening with a renewed sense of things: things I'm grateful for, things I want to change, things I want to do next.

Taking these back roads applies metaphorically, too. We get so stuck in the main "highways" of our thought patterns. We get in a rut and thus our days can become dull and colorless. I've found that taking the "road less traveled" (thank you Robert Frost) when it comes to making decisions in our lives has an enormous impact. Have you ever noticed that sometimes its the seemingly tiniest changes and detours we make that make such a huge difference? I have. So many times.

If you get a chance, take the back roads this weekend. Or any day or hour you can. Whether that means getting in your vehicle and giving yourself time to ponder or just thinking about some of the "alternate routes" you could take this week. It could be going somewhere you've never been, saying "hello" to a stranger when you're compelled to look away, making the call you never seem to find the time for...whatever it is. You'll be amazed.

At least occasionally, take a back road. It can give you a whole different perspective of the journey you're on--in many ways.