Upon a road oft travelled

What is it that makes us travel fast
Always intent on the destination
Never taking the time to stop
For needless or even needed
Breaks, pauses, reflective moments
And really there is no sound excuse
Freeways have rest stops there to use
And when I need to rest
I have no trouble pulling in
I’ve done it on I-90 in the States
I’ve done it on 401 passed Ontario gates
I’ve done it on a prairie route
I’ve done it by small towns too

I have traveled a thousand roads I’m sure
Always headed for somewhere else
Not always without time to spare
Not always with a deadline there
And yet I can hardly think of once
When I simply turned off the path
To visit someone or some place
And show a little bit of grace
To those who were along the way

I missed a chance when I was young
To see a wise but elderly soul
Because I felt I had to get
To the next place upon my list
It happened again before school was done
And then it seemed to simply become
The norm, the usual, the way to travel

In looking back it is hard to count
The people who were dear to me
Yet not seemingly dear enough
To turn the car, to slow the pace
I can think of times on late night drives
Or when the sun was barely up
That it seemed so easy to simply say
They will be asleep upon the hay

Sometimes it was a relative long lost
But more often it was a special friend
One whom no doubt I thought
Would like to see me and to visit
To reminisce about some time
Now lost in my own memory bank

Like investments long since put aside
In some old drawer or safety box
These people sat as past I sped
Alone at home or even at their work
Even when I said I’d come next time
I really knew it would not be

I don’t read obituaries very much
They only remind me that I double-clutched
And couldn’t stop and turn within
Worried my travel clock would unwind
And now they’re gone
To their reward I think
And I still sail past their homes
With nary a wandering blink

Still trying to reach some destined shore
As if the ferry only runs one time more
And missing all the good thoughts
And the special vibes
That those people would have shared
And in the hectic drive downwind
I always arrive a way too soone
And sit and ponder
While I await
The timing of the arrival goal

The irony is that in days of yore
When trains were at the fore
There was an excuse for going past
It was the engineer that was too fast
But as many a song now tells us
Trains have left us for the bus
So there is really no excuse
For to try is only to confuse

It happened again not long ago
I was even phoned and invited
He was a friend, his wife was too
But I had stuff to do and say
And he could wait one more day
Too soon I learned that he did not
And now he’s gone without a thought
Or even prayer said in his stead
The road oft traveled again misled

Where did this hurry come like a race
Why do I not learn to slow down my pace
What final destination now is so dear
That I can bypass those right here
Perhaps I need to simply say
So long, I’m gone
But don’t you mind
I will think of you
When next I stop
And wait
for the ferry
Or maybe
it’s a plane
It really doesn’t matter much
For I am early
And have time to think of such