It was a long day at work,but I felt productive and had no especially stressful issues, but I was ready to be home. I took care of some minor automobile problems when I got home and talked with the wife and son, but I needed some private space. So the dog and I went out in the yard on a warm evening when darkness came quickly, and crickets were calmly making their melodies.
I've had my hammock hanging in the aspen grove since August, but hadn't had a chance to enjoy it until tonight.
So, there I am, lying in my hammock in the dark, but my eyes have had a chance to adjust, so I can see the silhouettes of the aspens and a white pine against the twilight sky. I'd heard coyotes earlier, but now it's just the crickets and leaves falling and the occasional vehicle on the highway down in the valley. I'm just swinging gently, almost ready to doze, but certainly ready to relax . . .
. . . and my cell phone rings. I should have left that thing in the house. But I can see that it's a number I've seen before, and it's someone trying to sell me something. So I push the number one and wait for a real person to come on the line. The woman at the other end, once she picks up the connection, tells me I can get cheaper electricity, so I ask if they have sustainable options. She says "it doesn't matter" and I tell her it matters to me. So she refers me to her supervisor, who asks me what is my question. I tell him I want to know what sustainable options they have, and he tells me they have ten percent. So I say that's not good enough, and tell him they've called me repeatedly but I've never talked with a real person until now, and I want them to stop calling me. He quickly says "goodbye" and hangs up before I get a chance to unload my frustration. Damn it.
Lying in the hammock, letting my eyes get used to the semi-darkness again, feeling better. Crickets serenading again. Feeling good.
Then I hear a truck and see the headlights, and I'm on my feet, frustrated at the intrusion. Again. The truck turns around briskly in the bus turn-around and speeds back down the road.
I moved here with my wife twenty-five years ago, to get away from intrusions. Back then we had people on four-wheelers driving right past the house, and hunters presuming to hunt in our yard, who I had to turn away, repeatedly, in person. Once, I even cocked my gun as loudly as possible to emphasize my demand that they move on, immediately.
I remember a night thirty-three years ago. I was living alone in a small house sixteen miles from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and was just falling asleep when someone pulled up in my front yard. I was wearing boxer shorts. Just boxer shorts. I grabbed a hatchet, turned on my porch light, and stepped out, yelling "get out of here!" They probably thought I was nuts. In that moment, I was. I wanted to be left alone. Same thing tonight.
Most of the time, I'm pretty long-suffering. But not tonight. Sometimes I think we didn't move far enough out of town. My wife and son don't agree. Maybe it's finally time for me to have my wife drop me off on the Finger Lakes Trail, thirty miles or so from here, and just wait for me to find my way home.
- I've been a number of things over the years: husband, father, environmental technical specialist, college instructor, carpenter, volunteer firefighter and ambulance driver, student of Lakota and Japanese languages, technical writer, process engineer, research technician, IT technician, emergency dispatcher, etc.