Well maybe not all of America or even the entire hometown, but today put away the ponies to huff it around unfamiliar places. Why?
Today the tree cutters were to come by and make a bunch of noise and walk around the forest and make some more noise and I just didn’t want to hear it.
So I decided, after some pondering, to take a hike.
Instead of checking into a hotel to avoid the noise, I got up early due to John Cage on the radio, had a few cups of coffee, locked up and started hoofing it. I had in mind a voyage agenda but some parts were gaps in knowledge of the territory or direction so it was an adventure.
We all do walk some but this would be miles. Was I prepared? Didn’t matter; once you begin you just put one foot in front of another.
Like a child I started enjoying all the sites and sounds of my journey. I saw the tree cutters truck turn the corner and marked the time before moving forward. There was a fire truck and an ambulance and the crazy guy walking with a rake. There was the mailing of the post and waiting for traffic.
Then the trudging down to the next spot on my tour I stopped at Jordan’s Creek. Here was a little piece of pristine undisturbed forest with a creek running through it. I stood and enjoy a bit of wilderness only disturbed by a paved jogging path and then moved on.
First stop was a vacant piece of land being developed called Libbie Mill. I had wandered over this area before when it was just a former affordable housing area that was demolished leaving only empty plots and vacant streets.
Someone has decided it was a good location to have upscale businesses so it is a bushel of activity of hammers and heavy machinery. I had been here once before for a luncheon but hadn’t had time to browse the area, so this was my first destination on this adventure.
Someplace called Southern Seasons or something like that turned out to be a super high-end grocery store. I walked through magic opening doors to the chrome shelves lined with products no one would ever buy if they went to Wal-Mart or Kroger, but there they were. Special teas and noodles and even a brides section were very clean and it felt crisp in there probably because I was the only one walking the aisles. I passed some employees working hard on trying to look busy and a couple of upper-class women catching up with each other. I didn’t have to look at the prices. A pleasant young man in a black outfit came up and asked if I needed assistance. Note: You can always tell you are in an upscale business when they wear all black. He then tried to look busy but I knew security had probably told him to check me out.
Walking along the fresh clean sidewalk I wasn’t sure what the next stop was. I had a somewhat plan but didn’t know how to get there. The street signs didn’t help so I followed the traffic flow.
Turning left, for I did know I had to go in that direction to get to my next stop (thank you scouting) I ran out of newly laid sidewalk to the lip of the road and a patch of uneven ground between death by speeding vehicle and a drainage ditch. Bulldozers and scopes and giant trucks were taming mounds of dirt spouting grass like mountains in empty silence.
This was a new neighborhood I’d never entered and each house was a statement of its occupants. A family was climbing into their van but I could not understand their language. Some front yards held leftover lumber or multiple cars in disrepair and all the windows were closed and shaded with a few pains filled with cardboard.
My directions were correct and the traffic started to pick up. Passing a few workers digging holes and planting shrubbery, I avoided being run over and found another sidewalk. I was back into civilization.
By now my feet were starting to ask me why they had to carry me this far? I planned on a stop along the way, but it was not time yet. I looked at the lingerie shop but Gregg I didn’t stop there. I know my demons. I watch another wandering soul pushing his bicycle from the other side of the street and knew I probably appeared the same.
Couldn’t find a hand held basket at Target, so I just wandered through the aisles. Much of what I’d seen before for many years listening to employees doing everything but working. You know you are of an age when everything you see, you have already bought. My plan for stopping here was to get a big sweatshirt to just hang around in but it was not easy. Seems all the semi-fashion doesn’t have anymore-old bulky pull over sweatshirts. I found something that would satisfy my search, but wait, there is more. A lime green jacket that would be perfect for annoying, well alerting traffic, that there is a bicyclist riding ahead at a 30% discount. Used my credit card warily since last year it was hacked.
On to Barnes and Nobles. I like books as much as the next guy and I’ve have laid down some serious bucks here before, so I was a bit wary of entering. The store was rearranged from the last time I was here but it has been a few years. I scanned the catalogues and quickly went to the music section. I forgot everyone moves slower in bookstores (like libraries) and there is more upper-class white women reconnection in the aisles, so I slowed my pace and explored. There was still a music section but it was very slim. To my surprise, there was a vinyl section with the Rolling Stones 12x5. I already have that and my feet and back are telling me it is time to rest. I go to the magazines and search for my quest is not over. Round and round the racks and no success but I’m sure they have what I’m looking for and then Eureka! Lots of guitar magazines fill the bag but I do not buy a free book for an under privileged child. I’m no Santa cause I got to sit down.
A quick order of a mocha and an almond croissant and most refreshing chair to relax the dogs. A scan of one of the magazines while being entertained by the barista chatter pushing seasonal cards and laughing at every joke. No one is that perky. I bet they are not very pleasant when they get home.
Pack up my stuff and wander again like a vagabond on a journey to nowhere. Avoid some more cars and find a sidewalk. Most of these mall as I see are not made for people walking.
Up the familiar street pasted more houses with a possible history but a bad paint job while across the street are vinyl siding and repurposed autos. All the while speeding white trucks with ladders rattling are remind me of the noise at home I am missing, thus the need for this trip.
Up past the hospital and then a new site. I cross the street to see where a little brick house had previously stood was a new, shiny fancy abode that looked like a college fraternity house. The groundskeeper was blowing leaves away from the fancy guesthouse for the aforementioned hospital. So this is where the money goes?
By now my arms were starting to tell me it was time to go home, but I had one more stop. Venturing into the hardware store that used to be a grocery store, I was greeted by a very pleasant employee who directed me to just what I had intended to purchase. A drill bit for my sizzle cymbal project. We compared sizes of the rivets to the bit and I decided to buy two sizes not being sure. A $2.99 purchase so it was the cheapest of the day.
Looking at the clock, well the time on the phone, it had been many hours and I was bushed. Time to go home.
As I stood at the stoplight, I see the tree cutters truck. Timing is everything.
A long haul back ducking under overgrown bushes and looking both ways for traffic, there became a pattern to the beat of the walk. More like a shuffle now, but a constant stepper-by-stepper forward to the final destination. Home!
A few seasonal decorations caught my eye but one yard was the realization of overload. Not only were there the usual candy canes and carolers and reindeer and elves but also leftover pumpkins and a Santa out of some weird distorted tale of mystery decorated the yard. All this stuff must have filled up a garage or an attic just for this display. I applauded their effort.
As I came closer to the homestead, I did not hear the sound of whirling motors against bark and the smell of dying trees. It was over.
The remains of sawdust told the tail of the battle, but I was too tired to comprehend. I had been on a long journey and was ready for a rehydration and a rest.
It is just another day in just another life.