Spring on Spring Mill Road

I feel fortunate to have a really pleasant drive to work for the first time since moving to Indianapolis many years ago. From my Northwestside home I can take any number of routes along surface streets north out of the city. These are the old suburbs, filled with low ranch houses set well back from the street behind tall maples and oaks. Even at rush hour I can drive at least the speed limit.

Spring Mill Road was first cut through the central Indiana countryside at least 150 years, based on old maps I’ve seen. The road was straight then and surely a real adventure in a few places where the terrain was rugged (by Indiana standards). Today, the road is curved to avoid them, but this has made for treacherous driving on snowy and icy days. But on a day like today, when the sun is out and the trees and flowers are in bloom along the route, I make my drive to Carmel, the city where I work, on Spring Mill Road all the way.

96th St is the gateway into Hamilton County. It wasn’t very long ago that southern Hamilton County was all farmland, but today most of the land is covered in luxury subdivisions and has been annexed by Carmel. Still, driving Spring Mill Road in Hamilton County feels plenty rural. The few remaining farms set the mood, and the subdivisions are all set way back and generally kept behind stone fences with plenty of trees planted near the road. I’ve watched any number of deer cross the road ahead of me, and have even had to stop hard once or twice. Only the roundabouts at each intersection remind you that you’re still in civilization.

Along Spring Mill Road this week the trees have been in full bloom, purples and pinks and pale greens and whites. For long stretches, it’s like driving through a tunnel of color. Yesterday I took a late lunch, hoping traffic would be low, and went out with my camera to try to capture the beauty. I failed! I may post a couple of those photos later this week so you can see, but they don’t show the full experience of enjoying the colors as they go by. But I noticed one thing while out on the road’s shoulders that eluded me at 40 mph – the scents. The section of Spring Mill Road nearest my work is lined with what are probably cherry trees with their white blossoms. As I stood at the road’s edge taking photographs, I could not escape those blooms’ scent. They filled my nostrils with every breath, making me a little dizzy. I have never experienced something like it before.

What’s been your best springtime experience so far?


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