I broke the rules.
With the wind in my hair and the sun as my guide, I traveled.
And with no set schedule and no agenda Saturday, I went to the place where I once called home.
Past the fast pace of interstate construction, I let the back roads take me.
Somewhere just inside Mount Vernon a roadside produce stand caught my eye.
Blooming flowers hung from a makeshift tent and other produce scattered, going home to the perfect bidder.
Along the updated portion of Highway 150 I came upon a classic car and followed it to Boyle County.
I patiently waited for the extra large black bull that landmarks my trip. Without fail, faithfully as I was leaving Danville, he arrived. He never leaves.
But down into Perryville, an unexpected surprise.
Watching for my favorite antique store, something at a church across the street caught my eye.
In the church parking lot a drive-thru baby shower.
And teddy bears sat in chairs along the ends of long driveways in Washington County.
Miles of miles of reminders that a global pandemic is ever present.
In between teddy bears, a handmade yard sign tells community members “you can’t be doing that.”
As I draw near to Bardstown and still along 150, another road sign catches my eye.
It’s not handmade.
It’s black and white and reads: “Solve These Murders.”
Beside it sits a pink and white sign: “Prayers for Crystal’s safe return.”
I’m reminded of the horror that plagues many living in my hometown.
But as I enter and as beautiful as it is, and while it never harmed me, I’m overcome with a concern and shadow that must lurk there.
Five unsolved murders in less than a decade.
Traveling through the rolling hills, history and charm override much of the tragedy that lingers.
I made my way up the blacktop driveway, that was once only gravel getting stuck in my knees. And I realized the place I once called home, is no longer that.
The loved ones, all but one, are gone.
Like the people, soon the land, the structures, and all the things that shaped me and embedded memories on my heart will be gone.
No longer mine to visit.
I sat a while. I tried not to take too much of it in.
What I did take were the same back roads to the place I started from.
Perhaps it’s just a state of mind, a reflection living in the heart.