Walking is an antiquated mode of travel, to be sure. And homo sapiens seem to have left it in a lonely cloud of earth killing carbon. There are folks in my neighborhood who will drive the seven miles to the bar for a beer and a gossip with pals, but will not walk 100 yards to visit with a neighbor and sip a cup of wine. Well, they may travel that 100 yards, but it will be in their pickup truck. And then it is usually not to visit, but to get down to some business or another.
Yesterday, I walked the three-mile circle down the lane to the creek road then along the creek and up the steep hill and back toward home. I also stopped to listen to the last trickle of water in the irrigation canal. There was a light breeze, whooshing the willows, and the light tinkle of water dribbling past rock and through the culvert under the road. The clouds sailed like lost galleons of the sky. I passed converse with a white-tail doe in the willows, and paused to ease her fears. I was surprised that she hung around to listen to me, this being hunting season. But I tried to assure her that, I was not armed and that if armed it was for plinking, not for killing white-tail does. She seems to have been convince. She was watching me from the willows as I walked away.
I passed not a soul on their Shank’s Mares. There was not another person walking this pleasant road.
I did pass one fellow twice. He was driving a lonely old beat up pickup truck. He had taken the same route as I had, in reverse, and hence our passing twice. He did not stop, though I know him as an acquaintance of the family, someone who lives alone and who has been known to become inebriated beyond legal. And when so inebriated, has been known to drive his pickup truck into other pickup trucks. I have seen him on a barstool unnursing several beers. He is usually alone.
I thought, after I passed him the first time, that he might stop in to visit my mother, since she is home bound with her aging and would enjoy a visit from an old acquaintance. But when he passed me the second time, I knew he had not stopped at Mom’s. Not enough time had passed for him to pull in the driveway, get out, go in, and sit a minute for a visit. It was just too easy to putter on past her house without giving loneliness a second chance to turn into her driveway. Pickup trucks have a habit of making asocial much too easy.
I did stop to talk to another neighbor headed in his pickup truck down to the bar for a bit of refreshment. But I had to wave him down. He stopped and turned down the radio. We talked about the deer he harvested, his dogs, the dogs he is dog-sitting for his son-in-law and for his employer. We chatted about my vacation to Maryland and his plans for a trip to Missouri to see another son-in-law. Finally, another pickup truck came along the road and pushed our little visit to an end.
I continued my walk. There were cows along the road, calves still unweaned. Nearly as big as momma and still going for a suck. I tried to tell them that they were headed for a disaster in an 18-wheeler, headed for a Colorado feed lot and abattoir. They did not comprehend Colorado and could not believe abattoir. I do believe they were a bit denser than a white-tail deer. Still I had a pleasant chat with them, though they did not say much, and just gave me the lifted-nose suspicion.
As I passed Mom’s house, I stopped in for a chat. Then I walked on home, filled with a short hour of wonderful experiences. Walking may be an antiquated mode of travel, but it is required if one wants to find conversation. I recommend getting out of pick up trucks and taking a hike. It will ease the loneliness and enhance the social life.