Sunday, June 19, 2005

First impressions.....

I wish I carried a small camera with me. Were I to do this, maybe I'd even have a photo to accompany this post. Unfortunately, I don't even own a small camera, unless you count my underwater one. Hopefully my words can paint the picture for you.

I love to ride my bike. It's very fortunate I live where I do, because I'm a whole half mile from a wonderful Rails To Trails bike system. The LaCrosse River Trail runs smack dab through my town, and connects the Sparta-Elroy Trail to the Great River Trail. If I get really ambitious later today, maybe I'll ride from here to the Great River Trail. Maybe.

However, this is about the fellow I met while riding east on the trail last evening. Evening is a great time to ride. It's a bit cooler, the trail tends to have less traffic, and the light is so perfect.
Hundreds of tiny bunnies are along the trail in the distance, ready to race into the brush at your approach. Birds are settling down with one last hurrah, and you might even see a turkey run along the trail before she flies up into her roost for the night. It amazes me that a bird that big, even when watching where it roosts, can't be spotted upon reaching that stand of trees.

While enjoying all these sights, along with the tang of sarsasparilla that grows freely along this stretch, I passed an interesting looking guy. My first impression was that maybe he was a travelin' man. We do have hobos moving through, even in the 21st century. He had an older three speed bike, outfitted with a huge rear basket. That basket was loaded down with all kinds of stuff. He'd stopped to readjust things in the basket. He was one of those folks who is somewhat ageless. He wore long pants and a striped sleeveless t-shirt seen only on Greek fishermen. His head was topped by a sailor's type cap that said "St. Joseph's Something." His midriff boasted an impressive girth, one I could hardly imagine biking very far.

He was the kind of fellow people often pretend is invisible. I don't do that. As I passed, I said hello, he asked how my evening was, I told him great, how's yours, and he said "Hot." I rode on.

Down the trail a mile or two, I'd stopped with binoculars in hand to look for a meadowlark I could hear in the trailside grass. The fellow caught up with me and commented on the state of trail maintenance, or lack thereof. We discussed our tax dollars at work for a moment, then I told him what I was trying to see. Turns out this guy had been riding all day from Warrens, a good thirty-some miles further east. The trail doesn't turn that direction, so I asked how he'd gotten here. He'd started at 7am, heading to Black River, then down the state highways. He was planning to camp for the night in the town where I'd planned to turn around. I'd say this was easily a trip of 75 miles he'd made. Not a trip I'd expect someone who looked like this to be making, and he told me it was his first trip this season! I maybe made 15 miles last night, without the baggage he was carrying.

I deduced that he was a postal worker, cause he knew how many routes that small town had gained in the past four years. He shared some good birding locales with me closer to his town. We enjoyed some conversation and rest along the trail before he headed off for his night's respite.

We have become so suspicious in this world, even sometimes in small towns, like the one where I currently reside. Kids are taught "Stranger Danger," and of course this is good advice. Still, it saddens me to think of how we've boxed people into certain categories without really knowing their stories, or bothering to even hear them. Perhaps my fellow rider was a bit eccentric. So what? I'm fairly sure that the same has been said about me, more than once. Maybe I don't have the eccentric appearance, but I make up for that in other ways. I'm so glad that my world view hasn't completely narrowed to the point that I can't start a conversation with someone I've never met before. I had a long discussion with a woman who was an Olympic gymnast, till an injury knocked her off the team. This while we both sat in the Minneapolis airport, awaiting stalled flights. We could have both sat with our noses in books, but we didn't. Last summer I chatted with some of the river rats camping along the Mississippi about the wild plants they were picking and I was photographing. I regularly enjoy conversations with whoever is sitting at the next table at AJ's Java Joint. My last one was with a woman who picks a place to travel every year by opening an atlas with her eyes closed. I meet interesting people on the bike trail all the time.

Even the really weird people I've met are still just that....weird, but often interesting, people. Here's to my next chance encounter with a friendly stranger!

6 Comments:

At 6:14 AM, Blogger Jane Swanson said...

I'm hoping to come up to LaCrosse sometime in August and visit my life-long friend in Holmen. I'd love to take some time to meet up with you at AJ's for coffee and a chat! I'll be in touch!
~jane swanson

 
At 6:32 PM, Anonymous Connie said...

Enjoyed your descriptions and agree with your point of view.

What kind of music do ectophiles like? I looked up the term but do not recognize the artists that are in that category.

 
At 6:20 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

prada outlet, longchamp outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet online, michael kors pas cher, louis vuitton, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton, oakley sunglasses wholesale, cheap oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin outlet, tiffany and co, prada handbags, oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin shoes, replica watches, nike air max, ray ban sunglasses, chanel handbags, tiffany jewelry, polo outlet, longchamp outlet, nike air max, air max, polo ralph lauren, oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin, tory burch outlet, oakley sunglasses, kate spade outlet, burberry pas cher, replica watches, nike roshe, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp outlet, jordan pas cher, sac longchamp pas cher, gucci handbags, christian louboutin uk, uggs on sale, louboutin pas cher, nike free run, nike free, jordan shoes, longchamp pas cher, louis vuitton outlet, ugg boots, ugg boots, ray ban sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses

 
At 6:23 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

true religion jeans, michael kors, timberland pas cher, coach outlet, nike tn, michael kors outlet, north face, burberry handbags, burberry outlet, replica handbags, hogan outlet, nike air max uk, oakley pas cher, hollister uk, mulberry uk, nike blazer pas cher, nike air force, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet, ray ban uk, uggs outlet, converse pas cher, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet online, nike roshe run uk, coach outlet store online, coach purses, polo lacoste, sac hermes, michael kors outlet online, ralph lauren uk, north face uk, michael kors outlet online, kate spade, guess pas cher, hollister pas cher, nike air max uk, true religion outlet, nike free uk, nike air max, lululemon canada, true religion outlet, ray ban pas cher, sac vanessa bruno, new balance, abercrombie and fitch uk, vans pas cher, michael kors outlet, uggs outlet

 
At 6:26 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

hollister, wedding dresses, louboutin, new balance shoes, lululemon, north face outlet, abercrombie and fitch, converse outlet, chi flat iron, mcm handbags, nike air max, valentino shoes, hollister, baseball bats, beats by dre, herve leger, gucci, instyler, longchamp uk, jimmy choo outlet, hermes belt, babyliss, soccer jerseys, soccer shoes, vans outlet, timberland boots, oakley, mac cosmetics, nfl jerseys, ferragamo shoes, nike air max, p90x workout, asics running shoes, nike trainers uk, vans, north face outlet, iphone cases, reebok outlet, ray ban, nike roshe run, hollister clothing, nike huaraches, ralph lauren, celine handbags, ghd hair, lancel, insanity workout, converse, mont blanc pens, bottega veneta

 
At 6:27 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

swarovski crystal, canada goose outlet, louis vuitton, juicy couture outlet, pandora jewelry, links of london, canada goose, pandora charms, doudoune moncler, louis vuitton, canada goose, swarovski, louis vuitton, moncler outlet, pandora uk, hollister, canada goose jackets, moncler, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, supra shoes, karen millen uk, replica watches, pandora jewelry, moncler uk, ugg pas cher, marc jacobs, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, moncler, juicy couture outlet, coach outlet, moncler, moncler outlet, toms shoes, canada goose uk, ugg, louis vuitton, canada goose, canada goose outlet, louis vuitton, ugg uk, montre pas cher, thomas sabo, canada goose outlet, moncler, wedding dresses

 

Post a Comment

<< Home