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riding in the country

12/6/89

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Last night, Scott, Walt, and I went riding in the country.  I’d never been at night, and I had been wanting to go really badly. 

First we went to our bridge. We were there for a long time, and we all just talked about different things.  Then Scott told us a story about the three spinning fairies.  It was good; the girl invited them to her wedding and was not ashamed of their appearances, so they spun her flaxen.  Then her prince husband found out they had ugly features because of spinning, and he said she’d never spin again.  Then Walt told the story of the Green Gorilla.  That was good, too.  He chased a man all over, and then when he finally caught the man, he said, “You’re it!”  I liked both stories.  I tried to think of one, but I couldn’t.  We all had nickels to make wishes on, too.  I wished for happiness and to make others happy.

Then we went to the graveyard.  We went to the back fence and there was a field.  So we climbed the fence, and Walt and Scott went running.  They were like kids, running as fast and as hard as they could and yelling and just loving it.  While they were running, I went down to the bottom of the hill and there was a line of trees.  I wanted to go through to the next field and the next and the next and on forever, just to see what there was to see.  When we were all there, we went through and across the next field, then around where the truck tracks led to another field, and it was a cornfield that hadn’t been cut down.  So, we went through this cornfield.  Almost to the end, we came to a clearing of sorts and sat for a while.  It was great.  The corn was taller than us, especially since we had begun to go uphill.  It was so secluded and all; it was incredible.  You felt a million miles away from everything.  There was no school, no work, no tests or papers, no bills, no world.  I never wanted to leave.

When we got to the end, though, there were real woods with a house behind them.  So we turned back then.  I got some briar scrapes, a corn leaf and a stick out of it, and Scott and Walt each got an ear of corn.  When we got back to the graveyard, they sang Amazing Grace and then some camp songs.  It was nice.

I kept thinking about those two trees growing there, and how they are the same.  We call them both trees, they have branches and leaves, bark, roots, and limbs.  But they are totally different from one another.  One is straight and one is short-trunked.  People are just like that, too.  We all are the same; we have arms, legs, blood, bones and cartilage and muscles.  But we all think and feel different things.  We see and interpret differently from one another, also.

When we left there, we just went through the rest of the road and back down by the water again.  Walt wanted a reflector and he got us all one.  When we got back, they came in.  It was about 9:30 and we’d been out about three hours.  They stayed until a little after 11:00.  Scott told another story and Walt told them the Green Gorilla story.  This may be dumb, but I was happy to have been the first one to hear it.  Scott played some piano, too, and we all talked some, too.  It was a good night, all around.

As I read through this, I’m struck by how simplistic the writing seems, just very straightforward and unadorned, almost juvenile.  The same could be said for the feelings conveyed.  I spent the evening wandering the countryside with my friends.  It was fun.  That’s it.

But it’s also everything.

This evening really made an impression on my mind.  I particularly remember, as we stood looking over that graveyard fence, Scott and Walt turning to each other and saying, “This looks like a running field.”  I didn’t know what they were talking about.  It’s interesting to think of the languages we have with each other; I heard what they were saying, and I understood the words, but they were speaking their own private language. 

And then they did – they ran.  It was wonderful.

What strikes me is how seldom I have those kinds of nights anymore.  My attention has been sucked into the computer or the television or work.  When I was young, my friends and I used to do simple things together.  We would go out and explore the world.  We’d walk around the neighborhood, drive around in the country, explore broken down houses, or just look, or just take pictures, or pick flowers, or whatever.   We spent evenings hanging out and actually talking.  I don’t do that very much anymore.  What a shame.

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10 Comments Post a comment
  1. That sounds like an awesome night. 🙂 we forget the simple things that make us…well…us. 🙂

    November 18, 2011
    • It was, a very simple fun time, just enjoying being happy. I agree that it’s the small and sometimes simple things that build up into the great big picture of who we are, so much more than the huge events.

      You know, like a wedding day is this big deal event, but the marriage – the relationship – is built on moments and days and years.

      November 18, 2011
  2. I was thinking the same thing the other night, that life is so much simpler when we’re younger, and that we are so much more spontaneous and take pleasure in much smaller joys than we let ourselves as adults. Your post is a good reminder to lighten up and not take life so seriously, to go outside and explore instead of watching TV, or do something fun just because you can.

    November 18, 2011
    • You know, Angela, I have enjoyed my little rambles with Louis these past two weeks so much, just 20 or 30 minute excursions outside, taking in the scenery. I was thinking about that as I was typing my comments last night. I think you are so right about the simple pleasures. Those little walks (just in the front yard) rejuvenated me, in my heart and spirit.

      November 18, 2011
  3. This is a good reminder to look more, listen more, and wait more. Tonight there was an incredible sunset and I happened to be at the right place at the right time because I needed to pick something up at the store. I never think to just go outside to see it. I get home from teaching and mostly sit inside. Must remember to just go outside and look more.

    November 18, 2011
    • That’s funny, because some of the best sunsets I’ve seen have been from my car on the way home from work. As soon as I get home, I’m in house mode.

      I’ve really enjoyed getting out of the house even just for a bit. Wanting to take pictures is my biggest motivation, but whatever works, right?

      November 19, 2011
  4. ahhhh. This really brought back memories. It isn’t just we who are stuck in “adult” mode- it is our friends. It would be hard to reassemble the group, would it not? We used to have running fields too. It is so nice to hear them spoken of again! I guess memories are the more valuable when the mere thought of running makes an arthritic hip go into hysterics! LOL….although I was out on a crisp night recently and managed a short little trot to my car. Made me feel downright jovial.

    November 19, 2011
    • You’re right – my girlfriends and I have to plan fairly well in advance in order to get together. Between kids and jobs, not to mention living in different cities, it takes some coordination. Unfortunately, I didn’t keep in contact with my college friends like I now wish I had.

      You make me laugh about that short trot to your car. The last time I trotted anywhere, it was to get out of the rain. My knee bothered me for a week afterwards.

      November 20, 2011
  5. The writing strikes me as simple, direct and honest, but not simplistic. I looked up the word just to be sure my definition agreed with the one in the dictionary:

    Simplistic: characterized by extreme simplism; oversimplified: a simplistic notion of good and bad.

    I don’t think you oversimplified what you experienced. I think you were describing things exactly as you experienced them, simply and honestly. For that reason the writing pulled me in as most writing does not. The writing is unadorned, as you said, but it feels truer for that. I might think an older writer was embellishing things, but I had no doubts about what your younger self was relating.

    Also, you hit on themes that recur throughout more “sophisticated” writing: friendship, our relationship with nature, escape from the stressors of modern life, etc.

    Yeah, it just sounds true. Honest.

    November 26, 2011
    • Thanks for that! I guess, when I read it, I was thinking that it sounded like a third grader wrote it or something: first we did this, then we did this…and it was fun. But I like your interpretation better :).

      However it sounds, I’m so thankful that I took the time when I was young to even write it down at all. I certainly never have forgotten that night, but to have it there for me to read “first hand”, that is a gift to myself. I wish I would keep a journal now, but I’m out of the habit. One thing that’s great about blogging is that you have that record there, of mood and interest at least.

      November 27, 2011

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