BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY, TENNESSEE
by Samantha Adler
The rolling forests of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic are entirely engulfing. With their blue and green hues, dewy crisp breath, lush foliage, and temperamental, seasonal mood swings.
A seemingly odd find in the heart of the American wilderness was a parking lot. An empty, expansive lot, dropped atop a mountain.
That asphalt slab was strangely patriotic. Even amidst the defining, impressive backcountry, I felt a surprising fondness towards the lot. It was a familiar and comfortable sanctuary after five hours of driving through, up, and over many mountains.
The US has always been a wild country of explorers and adventurers. Now, we’re leading modern expeditions in Jeeps and Priuses.
Repetitive lines on blacktop mark a place to rest, park your gas-powered stead, and admire the complexity of this huge country. Whether you’re cutting through the suburban jungle, city bustle, towering forests, or flat, flat desert.
Parking lots are the watering holes of America, a microcosm of its diversity, its good and its bad. To dogs waiting patiently with tongues wagging, notes of kindness left stuck on windshield wipers, helping hands carrying heavy loads for those in need, laughter from impromptu cookouts on pick-up beds. To unwanted stalkers, boisterous and vile exchanges, newly discovered dents and paint chips, and hidden dangers in the absence of street lamps.
These parking lots are definitively American to me. They’re relics of a country of explorers behind the wheel.