Thursday, October 24, 2013

Going for Fish
                Yesterday morning I drove into Blue Ridge through a recurring curtain of falling leaves to pick up some tropical fish I had ordered on line last week. I have done this before and so far the numbers of fish I have ordered by mail have arrived here without incident. They have, I assume all been healthy and happy during their trip in minuscule water filled plastic bags, packed in dark Styrofoam insulated boxes passing through the mail system till their arrival at the post office. Certainly they have all been in acceptable health and hungry when they reached me. This particular morning I had parlayed the trip to the post Office into a Waffle House breakfast meeting with Peyton before he left for school. Dropping by the post office before we met I asked the woman working behind the counter if my package had arrived. She said, “Why no, the men haven’t even went through the boxes yet. You’ll have to come back later!” It always shocks me when I hear grammar so cruelly misused. The teacher in me struggled not to correct her where she stood in her print dress and tennis shoes, hair oddly askew to one side. I resisted because I figured it would not improve the chances of seeing my package of fish today. After a nice breakfast with Peyton I went to the post office and picked up the box of tropical fish. The first time I had an order delivered to this post office the same woman had said to me, “What? You mean to tell me there are live fish in this here box?” Taken aback I could only nod at her.

                Heading for home I came out Aska Road from town and after a number of miles turned on Big Creek Road. Driving on this road always makes me feel comfortable and it shocks me when I hear people say that they refuse to drive their car on a dirt roads. Dirt roads are the best. I feel as though I am headed home, which I am. This I felt even before we lived out Big Creek Road perhaps because my grandmother lived on a dirt road and I feel an affinity for them. The creek carelessly follows the road for most of the distance, weaving in and out of sight much of the way. The majority of the thoroughfare is dirt, abutted on both sides by wilderness with only two short paved stretches between Aska Road and our house. The leaves coming out from town had been quite colorful. On Big Creek Road they were still more beautiful even though the fall color is not as spectacular as it is in some years. Many dried leaves already jettisoned from the trees littered the surface of the dusty road as I sped along. The vacuum behind my car caused the dried leaves to leap into the air and dance, briefly suspended from gravity and whoosh in behind my vehicle mixing with the dirt and dust twirling and spinning together in a vortex of wind and debris. It chased me down the road as I moved away. Watching in the rear view mirror the mélange seemed to beacon to me, “Wait.” Driving into town earlier that morning I saw on two full grown deer standing in the middle of the road.  The young buck and doe seemed stunned when I rounded the curve where they were standing, looking shocked and somewhat offended at my sudden appearance. They leapt into the overgrown weeds on the sides of the little road and disappeared into the undergrowth, only their erect white tails flashing good bye. They departed into the rough downhill country side swallowed by the wintering brush. A mile or two before I saw the deer there were eight wild turkeys loitering along the side of the road when I happened upon them. As turkeys and other wild things do, they disappeared instantly. Their camouflaged coats vanished into the shrubby underbrush blending into a forest of brown and gold, going from visible to invisible in a fraction of a second. Had they actually been there of had I just imagined the whole thing? Missing them in their absence I drove away anyway, toward home.

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