For almost 19 years, I've commuted 25 miles (one way) to work. It started when we decided it would be easier to move closer to Hubby's business. It made more sense for me to go back and forth oncee a day instead of him running up and down the road the same distance 3-4 times daily. Besides, we got the house of our dreams out in the country and eventually Hubby gained an even better perk: he relocated the business on our property. His favorite thing to tell people is that I make him walk to work. That was true until, prior to knee replacement surgery, I got him a golf cart for Christmas one year to make his backyard commute easier. Now Bou (our 12 year old chocolate lab) has discovered the joys of riding shotgun on the golf cart.
To be honest, I like my commute. In the peace of my car I am in control. Well, to a point. I get to pick the temperature, radio station and whether or not I sing along. I've planned for holidays, made a million mental lists and discovered a thing or two about myself during moments of self imposed silence. Oddly, the silence is never uncomfortable. The other drivers sometimes.....
The joy of country commuting can be summed up by this morning's drive. It's hot right now. Like 101 in the shade today, which will make the heat index about 110. (37 to 43C). So life in the country moves early, while it's cool.
I wasn't a mile from home with a Bobcat gracefully crossed the road from woods to cornfield. I haven't seen one in years and it was almost mesmerizing to watch that sleek cat glide through the air and slip into the corn. Ever heard a bobcat? They sound like a baby crying. How do I know? When I was still a "city slicker" I told Hubby I kept hearing a baby cry in the woods behind our house. It was a mournful sound. Who in their right mind would leave a kid alone in the woods, I'd demanded? He took one "listen" and smiled...which is how I learned that nugget of info.
Several miles down the road, a Great Blue Heron silently rose up and flew next to me, keeping pace as if we were commuting together. Well, silent if you're inside a vehicle. The first time one flew overhead when I was outside, a huge shadow appeared, accompanied by the sound of huge wings flapping....slowly. For a moment, I thought a Teradactyl was looking for a place to land. After a moment of sharing the same lane, the heron crossed over the hood, high enough that I wouldn't touch him, and sailed out of sight. To this day the sight of one makes me smile. Hubby once took a friend's young son hunting. While Hubby usually makes sure kids know the right names for everything, he decided to see if the boy was paying attention, so he made up a name for the heron. When they got back, Hubby told the boy to tell his dad what they'd seen. "We saw a Long Necked Blue Goose!" the boy exclaimed in excitement. To this day, when I see that heron, that's what I hear in my head.
Half way to work, I caught a Turkey off guard, making him stop in mid wobble to fly into a tree. Turkeys are an ironic mix of talents: when the males strut their stuff, they are a magnificent display of puffed up pride and feathers. When they "speak", not so impressive. When they run, they resemble drunken cartoon characters being chased by Elmer Fudd. But when the fly, they soar like eagles.
My commute becomes a chore 10 miles from work, where traffic increases and living animals have often become flattened question marks in the road. However, I'd give a "10" to the two squirrels I encountered a mile from work. Rather than do the suicidal I-going-this-way-no-that-way-no-back-from-where-I-came skittish dance, they gracefully skipped from one side of the road to the other. I swear one of them looked back over his shoulder at me to see if I was impressed.
Wonder what I'll see on the way home?