There’s a mystery upon the motorists of Boulder County, Colorado who travel Highway 287 between Lafayette and Longmont. The mystery could be rooted in artistic expression or in a simple act of littering but something tells me it’s meant to communicate a message. If you travel Highway 287, you will have absolutely noticed books scattered along the median lane for a stretch of a few hundred feet – the pages fluttering as vehicles pass by on either side of the highway. They are books and only books with no other sign of litter and are seemingly sprinkled along the median as if they are on exhibit.

I first noticed them a few months ago but dismissed them as a single occurrence of unintentional littering. I thought perhaps they flew out of the back of a truck. However, after the books had disappeared, I noticed more a couple weeks later and they were in the same stretch of road just north of the Safeway on the corner of Arapahoe Road and Highway 287. Again, I thought it was odd but I dismissed them once more. Soon, the books disappeared for a second time; and again, the road was clear and I had put the occurrence out of mind. It’s now early December of 2014 and I was making my way to work this morning and low and behold, the books have reappeared. I travel this stretch of road in my commute from home to work and back. One thing that is certain is that the books emerge and vanish in the late evening like a phantasmagorical reverie. Are these occurrences coincidences or do they possess a deeper meaning being initiated by the perpetrator who placed them there?

A motorist’s perception of the books while passing by the 25 to 50 of them on their left hand side at 60 miles per hour disallows them to see the title and the author. However, the books are paperback, used, and have been read prior to their placement on the road. This can be told by the fact that the books are open, the spine has been creased, allowing for the pages to flail freely while facing the sky. There’s a sense of beauty to their position in space and time but a sense of sadness as well.

It seems to me that the message being communicated by the books is that we too often bypass information being strewn about for us to freely consume. Perhaps, we do not take advantage enough of the opportunities to learn, to venture, or to expand our minds. If only more of us could pause the rampant, non-stop forces that distract us from experiencing and saturating ourselves in the moment, maybe there is a hidden benefit. Whatever the message may be, if a message is intended at all, I suggest we look deeper into ourselves and our situation as a society. Consider asking yourself: where are we going? And, what are we passing up as we try to get there so quickly? You might surprise yourself with your answer.

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