Graduation keeps getting closer and closer every day. One question a person always gets asked as a senior is, “What are your future plans?” or “What does your 5-year path look like?” I know what I am doing next year, but in five years I do not know where I will be for certain. I have some pretty big dreams and I have an idea where I want to be; however, I do not know for sure which direction my path will take me. I also have never been good at directions. I am still working on the North-South thing instead of left and right. Too bad a future does not come equipped with an atlas. An atlas is a farmer’s best friend. They all have one. It may be 20 years old, faded, a little torn, and have a couple of food and drink stains on it from the kitchen table. However, it still gets used and works just like a brand new one. Well kind of, it may be missing a couple of new roads, but other than that it will always lead you to your ending destination.
A farmer, even if they have a vehicle equipped with a GPS system, they will still bring their old atlas along with them because they just don’t trust that new fancy stuff. They have to see it for themselves. Since they do not trust the vehicle navigation route, of course they are not trusting a phone’s GPS either, that is if they have a smartphone. How could that small little thing that fits in a pocket know where you are all the time? To them, phones are only meant for calling, not for directions. That job belongs only to an atlas. The atlas does not just come out during the road trip. It first makes an appearance days before or even the night before the actual road trip. A farmer will sit at the kitchen table studying the best route and calculating which one would be faster. You might think this would only take a couple of minutes, my phone can do it in 0.3 seconds. However, a farmer looking at an atlas can take quite some time. While they are looking and spot an old forgotten town they are familiar with, they will go straight into a detailed story about it. Informing you of a time they were there, even if it was 20 or 30 years ago. They will tell you a story about someone they know who lives there. Sometimes they get totally sidetracked which snowballs into another story of when they were on that road, but it took them to another destination instead. Then before you know it, you’re on a whole different page in a completely different state, hundreds of miles away from the actual destination you are trying to reach. It is also amusing to watch the person who is using the atlas because they do not keep the atlas stationary on the table the whole time. They turn it with them as the route turns. If the route heads South, the atlas also gets turned that way.
No matter where your destination is, with the help of an atlas, you will eventually get where you are going. I may not know exactly which direction my future will take me, but I know my dad, or any farmer for that matter, is only ever minutes away from an atlas ready to give me assistance on how to get to my final destination. This assistance might come with a few stories, but who doesn’t love a good farmer story? My biggest adventure yet will begin this fall at Iowa State. I just hope with a class schedule I will also get an atlas. The possibilities are endless.
~ Kesley Holdgrafer