Hobo dreams, part 1
Today I remembered my childhood hobo dream while walking the dog. As a child I used to stare down long railroad tracks and imagine following the metal and wood road for days on end, imagining where the journey would take me. Power lines held the same allure, the double wired lines that seemed to cross the entire country. Riding in the back of my parents car, I would stare out the window, the power lines stretching across fields off into infinity. My feet would begin to itch with the desire to walk, and I could see myself with a pack and stick, travelling the world along the already cut paths of these power lines.
My dog and I started our walk the normal way. From our apartment we followed a grassy field, crossed the road and walked through a new neighborhood, the kind with large houses close together and few trees or plants. After circling the suburban and highly controlled neighborhood we returned to the apartment property with the plan of finishing the walk on our nature trail. The apartment complex is built along one of these sets of double power lines. I can stand in front of the main apartment building and look both ways along the power lines, looking off into great distances. I began to wonder what I would see if I followed these pathways. I remembered my childhood dream as I walked toward the nature trail. This trail is one of my favorite walks, but it is also a highly controlled pathway, covered in landscape bark and lined with signs reminding us who can enjoy the walkway, residents of the apartments only, and how, clean up after your pet and no fires please. I wanted to walk under the power lines; I wanted raw untamed nature, not controlled and carefully parceled out nature. At the start of the walk the ground was easy, a bulldozer had recently pushed dirt off from under the power lines. Quickly the ground became softer and a little wet. I passed plenty of deer tracks. Grass grew high on either side of the path and within just a few minutes the grass had covered the entire pathway. I was now walking in thigh high grass, following a thin animal trail. Even though it was December, it was December in South Carolina and it was possible that snakes or ticks could still be hiding in the grass. I walked carefully keeping my eyes and ears open.
After a few minutes I ran into a wall of dirt, higher than my head from the bulldozer. As my dog joyously ran up the mound, I tried to find my way around it. From the car these pathways seemed clear and easy, but all along the way there are obstacles. I chose to walk around still in the high grass, still following the game trail, made probably by the deer. After a few minutes of walking I came to the back of a neighborhood, rough high grass ended in perfectly manicured lawns, bright green grass glowing and screen porches looking at me. If anyone were home, and looked out what would they think to see a woman in her 40’s and her dog strolling behind their yards as if she were in a park? Very few people are home during the day, and I was able to walk undiscovered.
The exploration of the power line trail ended as we entered deeper into the neighborhood. Someone had pushed a huge pile of pine trees and debris into a wall across the pathway, and the only way to continue would have been to walk through someone’s yard, and I was not ready to do that. I turned back and finished my walk on the neatly designed nature trail. I stopped to reflect and enjoy the views at the crab dock, and I saw a bald eagle fly to a tree with a beak full of twigs. I guess nature is to be found where it chooses to live, whether the area is controlled by covenants or rules. That makes me even happier than getting to follow the hobo dream.On my next walk I plan to follow the power lines in the other direction, and see where they may lead me. You never know. I also plan to take my camera and binoculars to the crab dock, I want a photo of the bald eagle. Hobo dreams live!