Sunday, April 29, 2007

I had to go visit a wholesaler in Rockwall on Saturday, and LouLou was full of gas and the day was beautiful, so the time was right to go pathfinding. I decided to head off to the north and drive long enough to see nothing man-made, other than the road.

I drove up through the old town part of Rockwall and then up to Nevada. In Nevada is an art-deco gymnasium (currently a church) with a marvelous bas-relief rendering of Mercury - lovely. Though he was in profile, he was plumb nekkid and I'm amazed he survived the last century intact, libertine as he was. I'll try to post a photo from my phone tomorrow.

I drove around on successively smaller roads until I found myself on a goatpath with newly mown hay stewn along the roadside (I suppose having fallen from trucks) and sprigs of grass growing up in the middle of the dirt road ahead. I went over a little rise, and here I had my little fit of utter isolation, and it was glorious. Fields stretched out on either side and I couldn't see anything beyond, so for a moment I pretended I'd gone much further afield than a mere 30 minute drive from town.

Of the several dirt roads I drove down, something seemed very off to me. And then it hit me: where my family is from (Northeast Ozarks in Arkansas), all the dirt roads are made of iron-rich red soil, and these in Rockwall and Hunt counties were a soft, low-dust black soil. I kept catching myself thinking "they must have hauled this dirt in for these dirt roads." Silly me.

Anyway, one little road north of Caddo Mills took me by a historical marker of the Clinton Cemetery in Hunt county. Here legend said a cowboy was buried about 160 years ago or so, and in 1859 a local settler gave that land for a town (Massayville) burial place. He also donated a huge tract of land to the railroad for a right-of-way. This was called Massay Cemetery, but along with the town was later renamed for a railroad official named Clinton. How's that for gratitude? I'll bet the Massay family were none too pleased.

Anyway, I looped back around to Nevada and then over to Lavon and down by the dam. I had the sunroof and windows open, and the natural basin where the north fork of the Trinity River is dammed to form Lake Lavon is a verdant, densely treed area. There was some tree or plant which I could smell that also grows around the springs at Mammoth Spring, Arkansas. I'm going to wear more suitable shoes sometime soon and ferret out what that tree is - must have one of those, someday - it smells like home, smells like family times.

Maybe it'll be easier to go to the spring next month when I'm in Arkansas, though. I'm going to go to the farm of a friend whose grandfather was a famous Texas Ranger, and I'll muck about and get more cow photos. I also want to talk my mom into going over to the Strawberry River where we used to go and swim and picnic with her folks. It'll be sweet, and I'll tell you all about it.

I hope you enjoyed this beautiful weekend as much as I enjoyed mine. Cheers!


FHB said...

Very cool. I bet that was a lot of fun. Thanks. I once went on a drive like that, South from Ft. Worth. It's cool to take the path least traveled, occasionally. Just make sure you have enough gas, and a good thwackin' stick, just in case.

Dick said...

You drove past my old house. 205 @ 552