Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Come Walk With Me

It’s about 6:00 this Saturday morning. I couldn’t sleep last night so instead of waking the rest of the house with my nocturnal puttering, I read until I see first light, then I go out the front door.

The first bit of fall is in the air and I love it. The breeze is damp and bites you just a little as you breathe in sweetness-the fresh air scrubbing you down on the inside. I stick my hand in my pockets and start down my lane with a purpose. At first thought, this walk was going to be exercise-get the heart pumping, feel your calves burning, but hearing the birdsong, I decided I was meant to meander on this jaunt.

I have neighbors. I live on a curvy, sloping lane that nestles ten houses. It was built in the mid-eighties, so we have a lot of mature landscaping. However we have woods behind us and a field filled with cattle. And when I get to the end of my lane, I greet the horses that run to meet me as I turn off to the main road. I give the horses hugs and pats and say all those silly things that people saywhen they are talking with animals.

One of them snorts something silly back to me.

The honeysuckle is still in bloom. You can smell it as it tangles through the fence row. I love honeysuckle. I remember as kids, we’d pull the stem out of the flower and suck the honey off of the end. Grandpa hated honeysuckle. He told us that once you find it growing you had better get rid of it or it would take over. He was right to a point. We have some along our back fence that has gotten so thick it’s starting to obstruct the view. Big Daddy tried to kill it this Spring, but didn’t have much luck. I guess we’ll have to burn it off here in a couple of weeks.

I notice how heavy the dew is this morning. Somehow when the dew falls it always makes the air feel a little chillier.

I ponder my route and decide at the corner I’ll turn around. On the NW side, there is a new subdivision filled with box houses. They all look alike and have no personality whatsoever. They are horrifically expensive for what they are and I guarantee the ‘living room’ will be too small to fit an ordinary couch. It saddens me because two years ago this was a field filled with cattle and wildflowers and grasses and flying things. But we all have to live somewhere, don’t we?

Ironically, on the opposite corner is an old homestead. It’s falling down around a rusted bed frame and a rotted chest of drawers. I’ve spooked around on the outside before, looking in windows and getting ‘eat up with chiggers’ for my troubles. You really should wear long pants and socks when you go trespassing on condemned farmland.

My stomach starts to rumble. What is it about fresh air that makes you hungry?

I take a quicker pace back toward the house. I notice a dead armadillo in the ditch. I keep walking. I feel no need to inspect the road kill. Maggots give me the creeps. It does occur to me that I see dead armadillos all the time. They’ve migrated north and have taken over where the opossums left off-as the most common of road kill.

I’ve turned back down my lane just in time to see the neighborhood awaken.

I stop to visit with Harry as he unloads something out of the back of the work truck. He and his wife have two kids the same age as Big and Little. So we have lots to chat about concerning school and sports and the ridiculously young driving age. Of course, we weren’t too young to drive when we got our license. At the same age. 20 some-odd years ago.

I wave to Mrs. Smith. She’s out mowing already. Again. Mrs. Smith is the lawn police on our little lane. Nobody can make me feel like white trash faster. (In her defense, last time we mowed I thought we were going to have to bale it when we finished. Lawn care isn’t one of our passions.)

Pete's dog comes slowly across the front yard to see me. As I scratch his belly I ponder when his human is going to come around and collect the yearly well dues.

Chase is outside already messing with his truck. Chase is the neighbor boy and also Big’s age. Despite the age difference though, he is Little’s best friend. Sometimes I think I’ve taken him to raise, but that’s OK. He’s a good kid. I finally told him to quit ringing the doorbell when he came over. That was for company, for Heaven’s sake! Just open the door and holler to let me know you’re there.

I open the door. I’m thankful I had the sense to put on coffee before I left. I’m ready for a cup. Little is already up eating a bowl of cereal.

“Where’ve you been, Mom?”

“Ah, I just took a walk.”


Primal Sneeze said...

You sure you don't live just down the road from me? Give of take a couple of thousand km. Sounds awfully familiar, Sugar. Scarily familiar, in fact.

Sugar Britches said...

Isn't that a fun thought? It makes the world seem smaller somehow.