David Freeze: Out in the county - that's where I should be
By David Freeze
For the Salisbury Post
Quite often I find the things that I take for granted shouldn't be. Most of my life has been spent living in a rural area, what many of us call "the country." There are lots of things that I like about it, and frankly not much that I would ever want to change. From where I live, I can see just one house. Parts of my farm are located such that no roads, houses, and any other people can be seen. I count that as great, but one of my former neighbors told me the other day that she just couldn't live like that. For a minute, I had to think whether it was a neighbor or one of the less significant wives or girlfriends who felt this way. They might have, too.
We had the Dairy Dash Trail Race 5K on this past Saturday, and the race was run in a similar area. Upon leaving the start, all of the runners and walkers went back into a quiet and secluded part of the Hoffner Dairy Farm. The course was a big loop through fields and woods. One of the runners actually saw a deer that ran onto the course. Randy Miller said, "I looked over and saw him running there on the course, but pretty soon he grunted and then just ran away. I looked at the next guy on the course and he must have totally missed it. I just couldn't believe it."
Randy made it back to the finish with no more wildlife sightings. But others were amazed at the close up sight of cows, something I consider a part of my everyday life. One runner from Charlotte told of his son seeing a dairy cow that morning, and remarking about how many flies love the "poop." He had no idea that flies would hover around and sit on the manure. Well, yes they will. Another told me, "I sure hope there is no manure on the course, I just couldn't step in it." I bet she could step in it, and everything would be fine. It is just part of life out in the country.
Part of the morning included a "worst looking running shoe" contest sponsored by Phidippides Sports Center of Concord. Lots of pairs of rough looking shoes were entered. One guy entered a pair that definitely had seen lots of running miles and some farm work, too. No doubt they had stepped in manure or something worse many times. Those shoes are very comfortable and a few stains didn't hurt them any. OK, that guy was me, and my shoes easily won the competition.
What I think about often is how great it is here in the country, not how different it is from the city. Having spent 20 years working in Charlotte, I know about the city. Nothing against it at all, and once in a while a fun trip to the city is very exciting. I just prefer a place with the beautiful sunrises like we saw on Saturday morning. The sun came up with a low-hanging fog, back lighting a pasture filled with those prized Holstein dairy cows. Beautiful fields and plenty of scenic vistas, often found in multiple directions.
Back at home this evening, I saw a similar sunset. Beautiful colors and a clear view across a western facing hay field, not too long ago cut. Nothing prettier than a newly cut and harvested hay field, unless it is the much needed rain falling just a day or so later.
Just the other morning, while still seeing an occasional lightning bug, I was running up the road and could clearly hear two owls hooting to each other. No sounds but them. It was so amazing that I stopped to listen for a few minutes.
Then today, I went out to run 5 miles before going to the race. With a 5 a.m. start, not much of a moon and no cars in sight, I saw one of the brightest meteors ever, at least for me. I often call them falling stars, though I know they aren't. Always after seeing a meteor or falling star, I make a wish. Sometimes it includes a prayer. This time it was just a simple one, "that I never take these special things for granted and always appreciate them." Even the flies on the poop.