That's the fastest you can drive on the 88-square mile island of Martha's Vineyard. I'm not kidding.
There are also no traffic lights. And nothing but smooth and curvy two-lane roads.
For a girl from a bustling city in a state where wide roads and big cars rule - it was a bit of an adjustment. But after a few days in my rented econo-box, I felt my pulse slow and my peripheral vision expand. I was breathing, not fuming. I was meandering not maniacally swerving. I was catching a glimpse of the world outside my personal high-speed space.
And here's what I saw...
Behind a tall wire fence, in the bright light of noon, was a square-mile of this. It was breathtaking.
The next day I decided I needed one or two more shots of Creation's Crayola box, this time taken in the longer shadows of an afternoon. I drove the same road - even slower than 40 mph. I drove it four times.
The flowers were not there.
The next morning, I took the same route. I went 20 mph this time. My field of Springtime in September had vanished. I thought I'd lost my mind.
By the following day I realized the flowers had been harvested. Every single stem had been cut to the ground. I had seen those blooms just hours before they went from planted-in-the-earth to arranged-in-a-vase.
And I could not help wondering...what if I'd been going 60?
I ran across the photo, taken almost four months ago, this week as I rushed through the pile that was 2010 on my desk . If digital images have a voice, this one was shouting: Slow down! I swear I actually heard it.
Meander a bit on the journey, it said.
Watch for beauty along the way.
Stop and take a picture or write a poem or whistle.
Or plan to miss a lot of what is good about this world.
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