Doe, a deer, a female deer
It’s no buzz cut season
Oh, how times have changed, I muse as I drive, no longer protected by the lovely Mass. Ave. I watch the scenery unfold before me.
Well, duh, of course the scenery unfolds before me. I have to keep my eyes on the road, after all. I’m not one of those suckers who can multitask between texting and driving.
In fact, I’d go as far as to say that nobody has mastered texting and driving, and nobody ever will. If you’re texting and driving at the same time, you’re definitely doing both wrong, honey.
The times have changed so much that what was supposed to be a walk has turned into a drive, a drive to find a place to walk.
I’ve never craved a vacant prairie so badly. Taken out of context, I sound like a hungry cow. Vacant, sounds a bit like vacca, the Latin for a female cow, doesn’t it? Coincidence? I think not.
Considering I grew up in Texas, where grass was everywhere, I thought I’d be sick of it by now. But I suppose the apple never falls far from the tree.
I’m not an apple. I’m allergic to apples. Let me revise that phrase with something I, but not my immune system, can actually relate to.
I suppose grass never runs far from the field. That makes no sense, but I’m too lazy to come up with something better. Fields have consumed my faculties, I fear.
Full disclaimer: I don’t walk for the sake of this column or anything. I just like walking a lot, but circling around my house isn’t cutting it for me anymore.
Imagine if I wrote a column like that: it would be awful. Living room one, dining room, living room two, kitchen, stairs, maybe an existential crisis or two sprinkled in… you get it. It’s boring.
It’ll become one of those house tour videos you find on YouTube and watch for no reason other than you have nothing better to do. Absolutely not. My column, as previously mentioned, is a serious academic endeavor, and should never, under any circumstances, be taken sarcastically.
I’ve always been a sucker for some “me” time. Heck, I walk so much just so I can talk to myself. But this feels like too much “me” time, ya know?
I applaud my friends for being able to handle me, because if social distancing has taught me anything, it’s that I for chrissake can’t.
But these are some empty roads before me. I see a lot of empty faces. People talking without speaking, people hearing without listening. Just kidding! There’s basically nobody here! Just trying to maintain some degree of sanity.
It’s as though the roads have become a ghost town, minus the ghosts and the town. A car passes me. Okay, not exactly a ghost town, but the point stands.
Why do I find myself listening to “The Sound of Silence”? Ah, the car’s playing an angsty Spotify playlist I made junior year of high school! That makes a lot more sense now.
I’m bored. I want to leave. This road has been too straight for too long and I can’t stand it. I take a random exit to spice things up and hope for divine intervention to guide me to a field.
And lo and behold, with the Jesus card in my wallet singing, I can see the sun peeking out behind the overcast clouds, drawing a spotlight to an elevated parking lot. It’s empty and appears to be a public space. It is the Middle of Nowhere, Virginia, after all.
A cow moos at me as I drive up the hill. I moo back at the cow. It looks at me for a second or two and promptly ghosts me, resuming to graze upon the grass. Does that even count as ghosting, or is it just the text-equivalent of leaving me on read?
But see? Grass can’t run from its problems. It faces them. Good thing I’m not grass… or am I?
The sun shines brighter as I ascend toward the heavens. That is, until I park my car on a flat patch of asphalt.
A lake greets me, as does a field further down the hillside. If I’d ever seen an Appalachian countryside movie scene in real life, this would be it. I take a deep breath.
Speaking of deep breaths, I should get my annual checkup. But at the rate things are going, who knows when that’ll be.
I could feel the thinness of the air due to the elevation, yet it’s somehow the freshest I’ve inhaled in ages.
The idea that there are still corners of nature largely unpolluted by mankind brings me joy. It also brings back the sound of rattling tin cans, but that’s another matter. Oh, and of course knowing that there can’t be COVID-19 here when there’s literally not a single soul nearby.
I feel like Thoreau. I could almost visualize armies of ants battling beneath my feet or an obnoxious loon playing games with me by the lakeside. But no… I refuse to ascribe to the transcendentalists, for they have produced some of the phoniest works I’ve ever read.
I smell something in the air. Do you smell it too? Ah, yes, the scent of a high school discussion-based English 11 class. I’ve polluted this place with my past. Oops. Can’t say I haven’t done that before.
But in the field I see a reflection of myself: untrimmed. My hair, that is.
I should’ve gotten a haircut if I had known I’d be kicked off campus so quickly, but now I’ll have to live with the consequences of not having cut it for over two months now. I’m not desperate enough to get a buzz cut yet. Buzz cut me is in the past, and I’d prefer it to stay that way.
Look, some can pull off a buzz cut. I just cannot. I realized that a bit too late into my K-12 career, unfortunately.
I wander toward the field, take a few pictures, and admire it for an additional two seconds. Two seconds may not sound like much, but it’s quality time well spent.
There’s an offshoot into a forest. That intrigues me more, so I go. Many of the dangling branches are still barren for some reason, and a few birds scatter as I approach the clearing. The path isn’t long, but I trek it for the funsies.
I see a few does at the end of the path, and they look at me, ears perked. They’re almost adorable. I say “almost” as I recount the number of times I’ve had to slam on the brakes when deer have jumped out onto the road at night from seemingly nowhere.
The sunlight is starting to fade behind the blue mountains in the distance, the air starting to chill. I could hear the sound of silence. Hello darkness, my old friend.
I leave the deer alone and return to my car. I didn’t exercise a whole lot or anything, but at least I got to go outside. Yeah. That was fun.
Next time, I’m definitely following up on my promise from two weeks ago to play some Minecraft, Poptropica, and a Club Penguin knockoff. How do I justify not actually walking? Well, let’s just call it a walk through my childhood.
I’ll ask a more light-hearted question this week to end my column, as I’m sure enough #deep questions have plagued your minds recently. What’s the first thing you would do once this coronavirus situation abates? Who would it be with, if anyone? Stay safe, everyone!