As with every cold, my current one is the worst that any person has ever endured.
|Brandywine Morning, by Carol L. Douglas. It's a sign of my mental state that I forgot to photograph it out of the frame.|
Marshalton, PA is a quaint, charming hamlet of Revolutionary War vintage located in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Last night I had a brief, telling conversation at the historic Marshalton Inn while handing in my daily paintings for Plein Air Brandywine Valley.
“You could kill yourself crossing that street at rush hour,” I mused.
“Everyone’s cell phone constantly reroutes them onto the fastest route,” said a man named Lyle. “All these local roads get a lot more traffic now.”
My cell phone certainly agrees with him. Each day, it takes me on a different path through winding bottomlands from Newark, DE to West Chester, PA. I’ve seen at least a million miles of this countryside in the dark. It’s a lesson in patience.
There’s some unusual traffic. I followed a propane truck across a one-lane bridge yesterday morning, learning the etiquette of beeping before trying the blind hill. He had more reason than me to be there; he eventually stopped to make a delivery. Last night I followed an eighteen-wheeler going cross-lots. On Monday, there was a delivery van which weaved and started and stopped, making me wonder if its driver was impaired. Eventually, I overtook him and realized he was watching a video screen.
|Beautiful Revolutionary War era hamlets and traffic everywhere.|
I don’t condone impaired driving, but I can see how these roads could make a person careless. My ‘commute’ this week is about 25 miles. Yesterday it took almost an hour and a half.
Route 1 wanders through here, but bears little resemblance to the chirpy commercial road on which I live in Maine. There my son walks across the street to his summer job. Here, it’s a four-lane highway resolutely plugging through the suburbs.
I’ve lived my life in the quiet backwaters of the northeast, where population is stable. I don’t spend much time in the urban circus that stretches from Philadelphia to Washington, DC. Why do we think we need more people in America when so many of them have to live like this? No amount of shopping or fine dining could compensate for the loss of quiet they endure on a daily basis.
|Blacksmith shop, by Carol L. Douglas. My two-hour Quick Draw.|
Meanwhile, I’m struggling at this event. Handing in my work, I notice a stupendous street scene by Alison Menke and a beautiful, stylish house by Mick McAndrews. Suddenly everything I’ve painted seems weighty and old. Perhaps that’s because I’m feeling weighty and old myself. My cold is in full bloom.
I’m pounding zinc lozenges every three hours. These promise to reduce either the severity or the length of my cold by 28%—I can’t really remember which—if dissolved on the tongue starting at the first sign of a cold. I haven’t noticed much difference; as with every cold, my current one is the worst that any person has ever endured. But I keep going; after all, I’d be just as miserable not painting, and at least I’ll have something to show for it at the end of the week.