Our "new" old house is almost an hour away from where we currently live and the job that I love. People around here aren't really commuters-- after all, the state of Arkansas has only 3 million people, and there are only a few metro areas scattered around the state. They look at me, shocked, and shake their heads that I would be insane enough to move further away from work.
I have several reasons for finding this situation preferable to living within the growing Northwest Arkansas metro sprawl. For one thing, I've said before, houses are about 1/4-1/3 the cost if we move southward. Another major factor is the traffic-- if we'd moved only a few miles north, my commute would have been easily 30-45 minutes in heavy traffic; 50 minutes south is pretty low traffic, therefore low stress. I can listen to NPR, drink my coffee, and have Me Time to unwind at day's end. (I'm not being completely naive, here, I swear-- I did this commute the opposite way when I first moved and before I went back to school. I know what I'm getting into).
But what I always say, and something they always agree with me on, is that at least it's a pretty drive. The highway runs through the Boston Mountains, which are Ozark Mountains foothills. It's one of the most beautiful valleys in this country, certainly in this part of the world. Ozarks are like miniature Appalachians-- soft, rolling, ancient mountains covered in oak, maple, dogwood and redbud trees that turn beautiful shades of red and yellow in the autumn, with humongous expanses of horizon. Acres-- miles-- of sky and hills and dales. Only a handful of small towns along the highway, most of which are literally, one intersection, no traffic light, gas station/grocery/car wash/bill-pay all in one kinds of towns. Place is rural.
And that, my friends, is why I'M SO PISSED about the 3 GIGANTIC BILLBOARDS that went up sometime since Wednesday. They are ugly beyond belief. I hate them. And if that is what is going to happen to my morning commute-- to a stunning piece of the country not overly manhandled by the world at large-- if that is the result of the not yet open lake resort on Lake Fort Smith...well...