A road I knew
EASTERN OKLAHOMA — It begins beside a country house, where chickens are sprinkled among the horses, who live in the yard by the highway. Just there, Highway 259 juts off at a perpendicular to 59 and begins immediately to climb. Pines and other trees line the way, and occasionally part, allowing glimpses of dark green-blue mountains.
The road will take me all the way to Longview, and it continues from there, plunging deeper into Texas and finally rejoining 59 in its push toward the Gulf.
I swung into a pull-off overlooking the river, a spot in which I’d always wanted to stop but never had. The air was warm and heavy, and silent. A few cars roared by, fading finally into the distance. Jays began to scream on the other side of the river, which was very dry.
Crows called far, far away, and a single Turkey Vulture wobbled slowly overhead.
The scent of the place excited me deeply, in a way I could not explain. It was the scent of East Texas, and it called to mind everything I’d grown to love while I lived there. It must have been the trees, and perhaps also the soil. Woodpeckers called — Red-bellies, Pileateds, and a Hairy.
I got back in the car and continued south, later swinging impusively down a road marked Beavers Bend Marina. I saw a beautyberry and a doe along the access road, but the lake was devoid of avian life, save for three genetically compromised Mallards. I did hear a flicker cry from somewhere far away: my fourth woodpecker of the afternoon.
By the time I reached the Red River bridge, the sun had turned the clouds orange on my right. On my left, a Great Blue Heron flew across the water, headed for the Texas shore. I think I got there before the heron did.