The Funnybone, the Tree, and Nighttime on the Highway South

A note on a word in the title: “Nighttime”. I’ve always liked that pair of “Ts”, smack dab in the middle of the word. I’m not sure why that pair of letters is so interesting to me. They tickle my funnybone.

So humerus.

But I digress.

A few days ago, we had a good day with a pair of grandsons.

One particular pleasure of the visit was planting a tree with them.


Age Three grandson touches top of baby redbud, while Age Five grandson points…

Right now, the grandsons are taller than that little chinese redbud tree.

Next year, next spring, they’ll get to watch the red-tinged buds unfurl scores of heart shaped leaves. The little tree will get bigger. Maybe sometime next summer I’ll ask Five, who will by then be Six, how many leaves are on the redbud tree. He’s gotten interested in the letters and the numbers. Maybe by then he’ll be able to count them all.

It’s reasonable to hope that the little tree will soon double in size. Maybe even by next year. But within a few more years, that tree will surely be as tall as they are, and within five years or so, each new springtime will bring not only leaves, but flowers, too, those nifty redbud flowers whose buds pop out not from stemtips, but from out of the very bark of the tree, even out of the main trunk.

I hope that those flowers will surprise and please those boys.

We shall see.

The end of the day came, the sun was starting to set, we said our goodbyes, got in the car, and threaded through a maze of houselined streets to get to the big road, which goes south. The first stars were showing.

There’s something about driving at night, driving at such speed, with so many other vehicles.

You don’t know who’s in those cars, you’re just tearing along with everyone else.

You’re just trying to get along, trying to fit in with the flow.


Headlights don’t show much except what’s up close, so you have refer to a myriad of lights to pass along the road.

There are so many lights.

Headlights, taillights, license plate lights, turn signal lights, brake lights.

Dashboard lights inside your car.

Telling you speed, time, temperature, radio, engine, fuel status, and much more.

In addition to lights there are reflections.

Highway stripes, lane markers, bridges, barriers, cones, abutments, poles, highway signs, and much more. .


The taillights are like so many red blood corpuscles.

Flowing down the aorta of the highway.


White lights, yellow lights, orange lights, red lights, green lights.

Each light tells you something.

More meaning comes from changes of light intensity, from lights going on, or off, or flashing.

Flashing blue lights can tell you things like “police!”, or “trouble!”


Driving at night can be intense.

It can be glaringly confusing.


When you get near to your destination, you see the lights of your home town.

The confusing, starry lights of the road become familiar constellations.


Nearing home. Approaching the gas station at the intersection of Depot Avenue, Locust Street, and West Main Street, Falmouth, MA.

Another couple of miles to go, and we shall be home, we’ll cascade into bed, and sleep.


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