Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Off the Beaten Path
We were sitting in the kitchen talking the other day when a strange car pulled into the yard. The man in the car drove around and looked hard at our new shed and then pulled up to the porch and stopped. It seems when the delivery truck brought the shed last Monday they stopped first at his place. He sent them on, but was intrigued. He'd come to see the shed up close. Now honestly, I was a little put out. This is not at all the usual around our home!
John went straight to the door and spoke with the man. They walked about and looked at the sheds and came back to stand in front of the back porch. He and John talked a good little while and John took him out to the new shed so the man could examine it more closely. This man was interested in purchasing a shed for his property. John smiled when he came indoors, a little of it relief. To come up to our house takes a bit of boldness. People don't generally show up here except on purpose. We don't live on a main road and you have to drive about a quarter mile into the property to get to the house. You don't just wander by our place. However, it helped to discover this man is actually a neighbor. He lives up the road from us and like our place his is off the road, just not as well hidden as we are.
I like that we're off the path. In summer especially, we tend to feel we are protected. Our home site is clear land but all about the rest of our acreage are trees that close us in. We might hear traffic on the roads and highway near by but we don't see the traffic. Only at a certain point in the main road in the very dead of winter can you even get a glimpse of our home, nestled as it is among the hills (and trees) of the area. That point in the road is far enough away to make anyone unsure of just where we're located.
We are so well hidden that many GPS carriers don't have our location in the system. People who are meant to visit will glibly tell us, "Oh we've got a GPS. We'll find you!", when we offer to jot down directions and they often refuse outright no matter how often we offer to do so. We smile and tell them, "Well if you can't find us, just call." And nine times out of ten we get that phone call..."Okay...We're on this road...and we've been here and there...so just how do we find you?" Generally they are only a half mile away, wandering aimlessly, as GPS tells them it can't find the location, it doesn't exist.
A couple of weeks ago, we had one of those lovely small town things happen. A delivery driver was unable to locate us via GPS. She drove into town and stopped at the dollar store to ask if anyone knew us. As it happened, a good friend of Virginia's works at the dollar store. We've never met but she recognized my name from Virginia's friends list on Facebook. She called Virginia in Texas to ask directions to my house. The delivery driver arrived a few minutes later. I smiled all afternoon long at that little bit of small town ingenuity.
Where we live does have some effect on how we do things. When we moved here to the country, we knew our lives would be different. There is no pizza delivery. There are no restaurants or grocery just around the block. We have a small local diner that is open 5 1/2 days a week. Generally to eat fast food means we drive 20 miles one way. To go to a proper eat in restaurant will put his 35 miles from home. There's a dollar store, a local grocer, a pharmacy, two or three hair salons and a couple of convenience type stores in town, but any need those places can't cover requires at least a 30 mile round trip to the next town. We don't run to town three or four times a week much less twice a day! That's part of the 'off the beaten path' thing.
It's made it easy to determine to live a frugal life, to be mindful of the cost of time as well as gasoline, in addition to the money that will be spent when we leave home. It's made for a peaceful life. It's one thing to be able to hear traffic but we don't have to see it. We're not aware of the world passing us by. We live apace to the quieter rhythms of the natural world around us. The sound of a woodpecker gently tapping on a tree, the call of the bob white, the rustle of the breeze in the leaves, the far away gobble of a wild turkey. These set the pace of our breath on this land. It's a good life.