13 hours.

The kids and I piled into the Ford this morning {6am morning} and began our trek south towards Ft. Smith, Arkansas.

Spring Break 2011.

While the thoughts are fresh I figured I'd better 'jot' them down. {How do you 'jot' on the keyboard?" Is it called a 'kot'? Maybe I ought to invent the saying and make a million bucks.}

Hour One: Fantastic. No early morning rush hour traffic going our direction. Quick run through you-know-where to get my DC fix. Kids getting along well. Happy tones. Happy voices. Happy music. All was grand.

Hours Two through Five: Fighting children in the back seat, six inches from each other, irritating the crap out of each other. Video player was on the faulty side, barely audible, which caused major, MAJOR problems. So many problems that at one point I finally slammed on the brakes, pulled over, grabbed the video machine and bag and dumped it in the trunk. For a LONG time. That's when I pulled out my happy 80s music, cranked it and let them sit in their sorrow in the back seat while I got lost in "Living On A Prayer" because that's what I was doin'.

Hour Five: I'm affectionately calling it the "Lunchtime Turnaround." The kids knew I meant it when I said there would be no videos the rest of the way if they didn't get along.

Hours Six through Thirteen: Pleasant happiness, complete with kiddy cone from DQ as a reward for delightful behavior. {I use the term "pleasant happiness" loosely, because they still had 'moments' of lashing out at each other but I chose to turn my ears the other direction.}

All things considered, we made great time. 719 miles complete. We scooted along, and for several of those hours I was in my own little world watching "SPRING" unfold right before my very eyes. It was breathtaking. My mom called and said, "So if the kids are watching a video are you bored?" Oh no. I just kept looking out my window shaking my head at the beauty.

Brown is the northern color at the moment, and while I do love me a good brown, I'm sick of brown grass, brown trees with no green, brown bushes, brown dirt, dull skies, and just a general dull colourless existence.
Enter I-55 South and I-44 West and Hwy 71 South. It's as if I experienced the northern months of April and May in one day. Seriously. Each hour further from Chicago brought more color. At first it was the grass and boy howdy was it green. As in water-soaked green. Lush. And then, bushes had buds. And then leaves. Bright yellow and green. And then trees had buds. And then leaves. And the sky was blue with large white clouds. And the weather was warmer. The grass really was greener on the other side. It really was.

And then, as if that wasn't enough, the hot pinks came out. I believe it was the Red Bud trees, except really they should have been dubbed the Hot Pink Bud trees - I guess the person that named it was colour blind.

Everywhere I looked the horizon was dotted with colour. Oh, and then came the Dogwood Trees. Those showed up in Arkansas and they were brilliant. A bright white small tree that sit underneath the taller trees in the forest that had their green leaves. It was like white wedding meets green smoothilicious. Ta-da.

And then came the sweet "hour-before-sunset" where the sun is soft and brilliant and lights everything in its path so perfectly. And I kept thinking, "I must stop and take pictures but in an effort to get to Aunt Shirley's with both children not hammering each other in the back seat, I plowed through the mountain expressway with not a picture to show for the beauty I saw. BUT, upon arriving at Aunt Shirley's I promptly requested that next Monday we take the Boston Mountains Scenic Route so that I can capture the beauty in digi-film. It's just too beautiful.

The even better news about all this -- I get to experience another Spring when I head back home next week. Two in one year. How's that for lucky?

{Oh, I'm going to go out tomorrow morning and take a few quick pictures to post just to give hope to us northerners that Spring is on its way. Aunt Shirley has a Dogwood in her yard and I do believe I glimpsed other signs of spring too.}


Grayson said…
so glad you made it safely! and sanely!

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