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Linda's Challenge: The Country Road Beckons

Updated on May 13, 2015

The Challenge

A friend of mine on HubPages, Linda, or Carb Diva as she is known, recently issued a challenge. I’ll let her tell you about it.

“Your prompt is this photograph of a country road. Perhaps you have walked this path many times; do the colors, sights, and sounds of the autumn woods bring you peace and contentment? Or, is this a place you have never been before; what lies beyond the bend in the road?

I think that’s all you’ll need to get started. Let your imagination take you down the path, and start writing.”

She goes on to say there are no rules. This is a woman after my writer’s heart. No rules is a fastball in my wheelhouse.

So, here is the photo and here is my response to Linda’s challenge. Oh, by the way, you can find her article by following the link to the right.

Let’s do it!

The Country Road in the Fall of life
The Country Road in the Fall of life | Source

The Road

It was meant for me to be here, at this place, in this time.

All roads led me here.

All previous actions and decisions, inactions and indecisions, brought me here.

Millions of Earth’s creatures follow a migratory path each year, the route imprinted on their DNA. It is not a conscious decision on their part to travel thousands of miles to reach their final destination. They must do what they must do. It’s really as simple as that. So why should it be surprising that we humans do the same thing.

I was meant to be here, at this place, in this time.

A simple country road, but there is great complexity in its simplicity.

Such is life.

In the words of John Denver, take me home, country road.

The Colors

The leaves, once a vibrant green, now change as the temperatures drop and the sunlight fades. They are now fire-bursts, the night sky on the Fourth of July, a kaleidoscope of in-your-face boldness demanding your attention. The route is a simple one to remember. Follow the orange and take a right at the red. Go a ways and then hang another right at the yellow. See them, embrace them, allow them to make love to you, be a willing lover, caress them, kiss them, brush them with your lips and open your pores as they infiltrate your very being as all good lovers do.

These are not colors. To say they are is to diminish them. They are living, breathing sensations, capable of resurrecting long-forgotten memories of childhood romps, walking hand-in-hand with a loving partner, moments of quiet contemplation about the vagaries of life. They are nostalgic remembrances on the big screen of our minds, a longed-for kiss under the maples, tossing the football to friends, Friday nights under the lights at the local high school, caramel apples, spider webs, hot apple cider and tricks or treats.

In the Spring of Life
In the Spring of Life | Source

The Sounds

Listen carefully. Close your ears to the sounds of commerce, to the bustling to and fro of human beings, little worker-ants, the cars and the doors, the shouts and the jacked-up music, and allow the sounds of this path to embrace you.

The chickering of squirrels as they prepare for winter; the screech of hawks overhead; the rustling of dry leaves in the wind; the snapping of limbs breaking as creatures scurry to and fro in the diminishing sunlight. Close your eyes and shut out visual distractions. Just listen. Listen as the leaves crunch underfoot. Listen as a sigh escapes your lips, propelled by a calmness that overcomes you. Listen to the chill air approaching from the north. Listen to the years passing and opportunities fading as others arise.

The Smells

Burnt leaves ride the breeze. Flowers and crops begin their long winter’s nap, burrowing back to the ground from which they came, decaying, enriching, filling the air with a signal of transition, the eternal cycle of life playing out and captured by our senses. All around us life decays, life brays, and life relays, out with the old and in with the new, and the smell of that changing-of-guard is there to notice if we are receptive to it.

Is it possible to smell change? Is it possible to smell the passing of the years, so many joys and heartaches, triumphs and failures, all transmitting their own odor, the odor of a life well-lived, well-celebrated, with dignity and love.

The Feel

Reach out and touch them. The leaves, once supple and filled with life, now brittle and crumbling, their journey done for this year, their job completed, perfect metaphors for our lives. The first kiss with a budding beauty so many years ago, flash forward, the final kiss goodbye as that budding beauty breathes her last. Feel the young lips, so inviting, so hungry, now old, the hunger gone, the desire a distant memory.

Our skin tingles as the temperature drops, millions of receptors sending millions of signals to our brains, the retractions commence and hibernation begins its process. If aging had a “feel” it would be sandpaper in the fall of our lives, hardened by the years, capable of softening harsh edges and making difficulties and worries, frets and concerns, smoother. Life now feels mellow, mellow yellow, mellow oranges and reds, how strange that dynamic colors would feel so peaceful and yet, they do.

The Taste

Raindrops on your tongue, quenching your physical thirst and revitalizing your spirit. We know the dead of winter is ahead of us, the coldness, the numbness, the shutting down of all systems, but before it arrives we taste joy and satisfaction, contentment and relaxation, for this path leads to the final path, where once again we will return home, our final resting place or perhaps, just perhaps, the beginning of a new journey.

Taste a life well-lived. Taste the sweet melancholy and the unbridled joys. A pinch of this, a dash of that, mix and match ingredients until the perfect dish of life cooks at three-fifty and is released and savored. Close your eyes once again and enjoy the taste of your first dance, your first making of love, your first childbirth, your first paycheck, award, the first time you saw your baby smile, the first time you comforted the sick, lifted up the needy, gave of yourself in an unselfish way and tasted the joy of compassion.

In the Winter of life
In the Winter of life | Source

The Road Leads To…….

And that’s the thing now, isn’t it? We have no idea. We plan like busy little beavers, guard for contingency one, prepare for door number two, what if this happens and that happens, do this, don’t do that, take this emergency exit and stay to the right, move along, move along, start to finish, all mapped out and in the end it’s out of our hands as life always, and I mean always, has the last say and the final laugh.

So I say to you ride the wind. I say to you set your sails on full and capture every mile per hour of breeze and let it propel you onwards, full-speed ahead, breakneck speed, damn the torpedoes and tell caution to kiss your ass as you light your tail-feathers on fire and scream like a defiled banshee. I say gather every friggin’ memory you can, and hold onto it dearly, never let it go, squeeze it, drain it, distill it in your mind, file it away, and when you really need it, pull it out and watch it again and I promise you, I make this solemn vow, that you’ll remember it all, in living color, the tastes, the smells, the feel, the sound, all so real, as real as the path you are now on, at this time, in this place.

The road of your life. You were meant to be there.

All roads led you here.

Thank You Linda

That was great fun. My thanks to Linda for the challenge, and my thanks to all of you for walking this path with me.

2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      Absolutely beautiful Bill and felt like I was most definitely on this road with you. Happy Wednesday and hope you are having a great week so far now! ;)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Janine! I'm very happy that you enjoyed this.

    • profile image

      Lawrence Kitzmann 2 years ago

      Amen my friend/brother. I have solved many if the worlds problems and a few of my own when walking these roads.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      True words, Larry. True words! Thanks my friend. We'll walk together one of these days.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      As I always do, I loved every word.....

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, thank you, Pop! I aim to please, unlike Al Sharpton. :)

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 2 years ago from Taos, NM

      Well done, Bill. You rose to the occasion with this challenge. I enjoyed reading this and it is true all roads lead us to where we are today.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Suzette. I enjoyed this challenge very much.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Well and beautifully, awesomely done.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you kind sir!

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 2 years ago

      I enjoyed taking the walk with you on this thoughtful journey on the road to what reads as wonderfully inspirational!

      Moments of reflection and time to pause to count ones blessings! This is what I felt while reading this. Shared on HP and FB too. :-)) Up she goes= Beautiful, awesome, interesting~ Blessings always, my friend.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      I love your message, Bill. The spirituality and reality of life involves the paths we take and what we do along the way.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      This was an amazing journey Bill. Your vivid descriptions brought this country road to life and made the reader feel we were experiencing the journey. Great photo prompt from Linda and I'm off to check out her hub.

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 2 years ago from Missouri

      The Journey. We forget all too often that it is The Journey and not the destination that matters. You carried us on a wonderful journey today, Bill. Thank you.

      In your final segment I heard two songs beckoning me: Ride Like The Wind by Christopher Cross and Hold On Loosely by 38 Special. Both were telling me to enjoy the day. Again, thank you for reminding me. Take care my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Jo, for sharing and for the kind words. I appreciate it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes indeedy, Sha, and it's been one hell of a ride so far. :) Thanks dear friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very cool, John. Thanks for stopping by and I'm glad this resonated with you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Mike, nice to see you. I'm glad you enjoyed this....great song choices you mentioned...ride like the wind...is there any other way to live life?

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 2 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Your creative writing is always such a beautiful read and this journey through the senses is stunning. I love the Autumn colors so this was really special what a terrific photo to get the juices flowing. Thanks Bill for another epic.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      What a beautiful journey, Bill. I enjoyed the walk with you on this road through your wonderful narrations. I already told you that your presentation will be the best one. And I am very happy now.

      Thanks for taking me on this great journey.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Oh Bill, you take my breath away. I knew your response to the challenge would be good, but wow!

      You took my feeble attempt at writing and turned it into the most vibrant picture...of life. Treasure every last moment. We don't know where we are going (and does it really matter?) Appreciate and love the heck out of the journey.

      Thank you my friend for allowing us to walk along with you for a while.

    • MariaMontgomery profile image

      MariaMontgomery 2 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      All those roads are beautiful. I think I would take the autumn one. My heart is pulling me to take this challenge, but I have so much to catch up on after being away for a few days. How long is the challenge open?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Irish. I enjoyed writing this one, and it's an added bonus to read your kind words. Hugs to you, dear friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Venkatachari M, thank you so much. When inspiration hits we must follow where it leads us. I'm so glad you enjoyed this.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, you don't do yourself justice. Yours was not a feeble attempt at writing. It was beautifully done. Thank you for the inspiration. I greatly enjoyed this challenge.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Maria, I doubt there is a time limit. If you do it, just let Linda know when you publish it and she can add your link to hers. Thank you for stopping by.

    • MariaMontgomery profile image

      MariaMontgomery 2 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      Thanks, billybuc.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      MariaMontgomery - There is no limit. I look forward to hearing from you whenever the time is right.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I guess I have had a pretty good life because I sure enjoyed walking through it with you. Thank you for leading the way.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Loved walking this path with you.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Hi Billy,

      Not sure how I missed this challenge but reading your take on it tempts me to have a go. Love your descriptive writing, I can smell it, taste it, feel it and see it. You are just so good at this type of writing. I very much enjoyed reading this, thank you.

      Sally.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You betcha, Maria!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for walking alongside me, Eric! It was a pleasure.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Larry! Let's do it again real soon.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, thank you so much. This is my favorite type of writing. I just wish I could find more time to do more of it, but most of it now goes into the novels I am writing.

      Anyway, I hope you are having a nice week.

      bill

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      It's amazing where this road of life leads us and for me it's wonderful, even or perhaps because of the bad bits.

      That autumnal path says many things to me. Now you've made me aware of yet another challenge, I've got to respond. How could I not?!

      Lovely piece, bill, evoking all the sights and sounds and feelings of autumn and beyond. I love those colours, always have. Spring and Autumn always vie in my head; Spring for the promise of life and the hope, Autumn for the glorious colours and the lusciousness of nature, even in its dying throes.

      So, another challenge.... ah well, needs must...

      Hope your Wednesday is going well and that the end of the week brings more wonderful things your way.

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I fluctuate between spring and autumn as my favorite. I don't like extreme temperatures so that rules out summer and winter. I don't think I can choose between the two and thankfully I don't have to. :) Thank you as always. I got some work done on the new book today; more tomorrow, and then an easy Friday working on the new aviary in the backyard.

      Have a splendid rest of the week.

      bill

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Very creative Bill. It's amazing how you can turn a simple phtoto into such a beautiful read. The path of life is certainly about the journey. We all end up in the same place anyway. I love how you worked all the senses into the journey. Have a great week.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      A fun read, for sure. Thank you, Bill, and Linda. Bill, it is amazing to see how you hit that fast ball straight over the fence, each time. Remarkable to watch, as well as full of meaning. Thanks, again, for sharing!! ;-)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Only you could take one beautiful picture and lead us on life's journey. The seasons of our life link to the seasons in your writing. As each passes we prepare for the next never knowing what awaits us!

      Voted up, awesome, beautiful, and interesting.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      And an enjoyable walk it is, with all our senses involved. Challenging and inspirational!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Bill. I can honestly say that twenty years ago I wouldn't have been able to do this. I had to live life first.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, thank you! I appreciate your kind words and I'm very happy that you enjoyed it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mary! Some prompts just scream at me and then my muse just takes over. My job is just to get out of the way and let the words flow.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm so happy you liked it, Dora. Thank you!

    • tanyathistleton profile image

      Tanya Thistleton 2 years ago from Victoria

      I absolutely loved your last paragraph. Powerful words and excellent imagery as I set my sails and head to the wind in full. Love it. Although sometimes it is nice to slow down I think.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, what a cool challenge by Linda, Bill! Now, this one is right up my alley as I travel the country roads daily to and fro and then ... I have plenty of country road photos too. Hmm

      You have written an exquisite response to the challenge, above and beyond in my opinion. My favorite seasons are spring and fall too, especially here in the Deep South, where summers are so humid one cannot breathe! So, I truly enjoy the seasons of no humidity.

      This piece here was a delight to read after a long hard day and makes me appreciate my country roads even more.

      Well done!

      Peace and blessings always

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      This is much more than just a simple story, Bill, it is a positive philosophy for living. Thank you.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 2 years ago from United States

      wow!

      I loved it and was in the tangent of your words and swaying along with them.

      I have to take part in this prompt :)))

      Will work on it tomorrow morning...something to look fwd to!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      Yes, we are, Bill..meant to take this circuitous journey called life. You nailed it with this writing..as I read I felt as if the words had taken over for you....

      it flowed...which of course it not remarkable for YOUR work.

      Angels are once again winging their way to you this morning ps

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, tanya.....slowing down is a nice luxury at times. I know I need it for sure.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Faith. Who among us doesn't enjoy a country road in the fall? One would have to be the walking dead not to see the beauty that surrounds us.

      blessings always my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you drbj...I think so too! One could do worse than live with this philosophy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm looking forward to it too, Ruchira! Thank you for your kind words.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, thank you dear friend. It did flow out of me, and I love it when that happens.

      I'll take all the angels you can send me, and I'll return them to you with blessings, hugs and love.

      bill

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Good to see you taking the challenge and walking the Path with Linda, Bill. The Winter pic is beautiful and the others remind me of warmth and Light: refreshing, vigorous and full of zest. Yes, the burnt leaves surely ride the breeze. Cool!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, thank you for taking us along on this beautiful autumnal walk. You've certainly lifted my spirit this morning. Autumn is often associated with death and dying but it is also a season of abundance, life, energy and spectacular beauty. You've captured it all beautifully, romantic pro that you are.:)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Manatita! You described it all like the poet that you are. Have a wonderful weekend, my friend, and blessings always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Jo! I guess I just might have some romantic in me. :) Have a beautiful weekend!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      There is some very interesting and vivid imagery in this essay, Bill! Thank you for sharing it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Alicia. I appreciate you.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Beautifully expressed, we never stop and listen and enjoy nature. We live life with clockwork precision caught in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. and as you say now is the time, now is the place. Great write, enjoyed reading, voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Vellur! I'm glad you enjoyed this timeless message!

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 2 years ago from Reno NV

      Sometimes your words are the purest of poetry. I was there with you every word shaking my head as if we were talking face to face. Jamie

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Jamie. Coming from a poet like you, that is a huge compliment.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Beautifully done and straight from the heart, Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Flourish. I love that you think so.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I loved the way you told the story of the road by likening it to our journey through life

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lawrence. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      (laughing heartily) And that was only the first day of many!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes indeedy, Deb. :) Thank you and Happy Sunday to you.

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 2 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Wow – I’d have to open a new HubPages account to tell you all of my Country Road stories! I’m from California, and I currently live in Hawaii, so I’ve never experienced the New England fall colors like this picture – though Silicon Valley gets quite a bit of fall colors.

      Once, when I was in high school, I had a dream about a cranky elderly woman who lived in a cabin in woods like this. She drove off her husband by driving a spike into his butt. A long time later, I was hiking in the woods with some others, and we came across the cranky woman who yelled at us waving a hatchet, and scared us off. I wonder what that dream meant???

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Say Yes, I don't know what that dream means, but I would stay away from the woods. LOL Thanks for sharing that and for reading my article.

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