And there is no better backroad in my mind than Butterville Road.
Once I got my driver’s license I found that driving the backroads was a way to relax, to reflect and to recharge. And once I discovered it, my car, as if acting on its own accord, steered its way to Butterville. Running parallel to the prominent mountain ridge that rims the western edge of my hometown the small, often overlooked road intersects two other roads that climb into the mountain itself.
Spotted with farm houses, rolling fields and meadows, copses of deciduous trees and herds of deer, Butterville became my favorite late night hangout spot during my senior year of high school. A few friends and I would park along the side of the road and sit looking up at the mountain ridge. We would gossip, dream and imagine our life as adults. We shared secrets and tears. We’d play the radio and sing along. Sometimes we’d take a few hesitant steps into the meadow only to run back to the car squealing with fears of the dark.
Once, a police officer pulled up behind us while we sat in the road next to the car talking. Terrified, we stood up as he got out and approached us. He asked what we were doing and in all honesty answered, “Nothing.” We had no drugs or alcohol and aside from loitering we weren’t doing anything wrong. Once we explained that we just liked to hang out and look at the stars and the mountain, he chuckled, shook his head and told us to “move along.”
Like a fifty’s style Lover’s Lane, I had my first real kiss there under a billion stars while deer scampered in the meadow. Once, a guy I met at work and really liked told me he “thought” he might be “in love with me.” Two days later he stopped taking my calls.
In a small town full of backroads it might be hard to pick a favorite one, but whenever I go back to my hometown, I make a point to drive along Butterville. I stop along the same stretch of the road and I stare up at the mountain that hasn’t changed in thousands of years. As the saying goes, you can never go home again, but sometimes, you can drive the backroads and remember with fond tears and laughter how much home means.