A few weeks ago I said I wanted to start running outside on my property. It's a great concept, but it's just not working out for me. I just don't run, it turns into a hike almost every time. Which isn't bad, I guess, but I was planning on running, not hiking.
Take tonight, for instance. I started on the standard run, which goes around in a big loop and ends with a steep hill. I decided to go in a counterclockwise direction to mix it up a bit, mostly to make that hill be downhill in the beginning instead of uphill in the end of the run. I went past the trash dump area, then stopped when I passed a large piece of metal. I inspected it and made a mental note to bring it to Randy's attention to take to the metal recycler. I look up and see a red fox about 15 feet away from me. He's looking at me, and he's moving his mouth, licking his chops or something odd. I think to myself, oh, how cute, a fox. Then in the background I realize I can hear the guineas up by the house, and the thought in my mind turns to "guinea-killer". No longer is he a cute and cuddly little friend. I look around to see if maybe he's licking his mouth because he just ate dinner, but I don't see any guinea dinner. I walk closer to him, and closer still, until I'm like 5 feet away. He's not really afraid, but finally he jogs a few feet, and I follow. He stops and looks at me, daring me to follow, and I do. The fox bolts, and I chase him, I don't know why. Within seconds he's lost me.
I find myself on a small deer path, which leads me to behind an old empty house on the property. I notice behind the house is a field in which I have never been before, so I walk into the field and check it out. Beautiful. I notice a heavily-used deer path leading out of the field, and I walk on it, following it to a large stream. I've never been to this exact area before and I inspect everything. I see a large tree that fell over that was once a pilated woodpecker's nest. I climb down close to the stream water and taste it. It's cold. I look at all the deer hoof marks in the mud around me. They took a drink, too. I think about going back the way I came, but a path calls me, a path on which I have never walked. Another deer path.
I follow this new path through the deep woods. Way up ahead I see sunlight, so I assume there's a field or something, and I decide to go there. I find another path crossing my path, making a fork in the road. Hmmm, which way... I go left because I hear footsteps in the leaves to the left, although the clearing was ahead to the right. I am just too curious about the footsteps. After walking quietly down the path for a while, I find myself following a flock of wild turkeys. They don't run, but they aren't really happy that I'm there, and they walk away. The tom is large and impressive. His females follow him. I let them go on without me. Turkeys are friends.
I climb through thick branches in the woods, wondering how many ticks I have on me, and eventually I find another deer path. I love paths, thank you to the deer for making paths. No thank you to the deer for leaving their ticks behind, though. I decide maybe I should jog a bit, as I was supposed to be running, after all. I jog a while, wondering where I am. I wish I brought a cell phone. It's getting late, the sun is setting by now. I continue jogging and come to a huge field. It's the ravine area. I know where I am, and I know it's not too close to the house. I've gotten way off track. I stand in the field in a culvert surrounded by hills, thinking I'm going to have to climb my way out of here to get home. As I climb up a hill I startle up a herd of deer, they run into the trees noisily, irritated at me for interrupting them. They were laying down in the culvert. Sorry, guys.
Up and down the hills I climb. At least there's no trees here, but there's lots of high grasses which I have to wade through. In the distance, after I climb one last hill, I can see the main road. I go towards it, and I pass another path. The path calls me, but I ignore it. It's late, it'll wait till another day. I turn left when I get to my well, cut up through the woods to the house, climbing up more hills. Randy just happens to be standing at the front door wondering where I am as I break out of the woods. It's almost 8pm. Time flies in the woods.
And then I go back to my normal life. So much for all the chores that were on the schedule for the evening.