Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I’ve always loved to hike in the wild. Unfortunately, the wild has usually been far from where I live. My preferred path would be no trail or, perhaps, a rabbit trail. Where the foliage does not allow simple cross country ambulation I defer to the beaten path. In the city, usually grass is preferable to the street.

While walking, I watch the ground for signs (animal tracks and such for you city folks), interesting rocks, plants and whatever else catches my eye or stirs my imagination. I tracked a deer through a twisting turning maze of honeysuckle one year. As a youngster I came across a horned toad skull. It looked for all the world like a miniature buffalo skull. In Kentucky I scouted for morel mushrooms that are prized by all fungi collectors.

City walking, while there is occasional nature to be seen, usually results in finding mostly man-made treasures in the road. If you want to collect aluminum cans for about a nickel a piece there is a limitless supply. When I walk the roads I pick up the more solid items that could puncture a tire. I collect the nails, screws and bolts that lay strewn along the road. Occasionally I drop them down the water meter key holes, but usually throw them away at home. The largest item I picked up was a six foot piece of rebar.

This week as my wife and I were walking I noticed a small shiny card on the road that turned out to be a driver’s license. Though the address was on the card, I couldn’t find a phone number online or in the phone book. In this modern age of technology, however, I did find the girl listed on Facebook and sent her a message. We even had a mutual FB friend.

When the mother picked up the license she told me that her daughter left her wallet and car keys in the car, unlocked, apparently. Someone stole the car and wrecked it. They probably emptied the wallet of anything valuable and threw it away, or at least the driver’s license. The license might have been useful except it was a provisional license for a minor and expires in a few more months.

I’ve learned from all this. If you need a piece of rebar, go for a walk. Lock your car. Take your keys. Hide your valuables. Oh, wait. That last bit is from the sign at the mall, but I guess it’s still sound advice.

I wonder what I’ll find today,