Old Dogs

PASSING THROUGH


a seven mile trek
from town
to station

a ribbon of road lined
with generously spaced
homes
and fertile farmland

a distance
that I covered
there and back
at least once
a day

when problems
occurred
as they did
more than often
than not
a few more
frantic trips
could be factored
into the
equation

the route
became a routine
and I began
to associate
vehicles to domiciles

as the months
meandered along
I recognized people
as belonging to this house
or that pastoral structure
and then to
respective
cars
trucks
and four-wheel drives

finally
as the trips
gradually accumulated
I noticed the names
on certain mailboxes
tying them to owners
and their varied
possessions

the seasons passed
as did their lives
holidays and reunion picnics
lawn care and building maintenance
anniversary and birthday celebrations
Christmas trees and decorations

I learned
the family members
and watched their continual
comings and goings
even their animals
dogs
cats
horses
were familiar sights
as I daily drove past
a peripheral part
of those serene
settings

some grew
to recognize
my ever-passing car
and offered tentative
yet friendly waves
in relaxed acceptance
to my mobile association
with their
stationary lives

we were
temporarily linked
for several seconds a day
a visual crossing of paths
dynamic exhibits existing
in relative museums
of motion

in the last
few waning weeks
before my departure
when these people
were present
in their yards
and driveways
I would slow a bit
considering a visit
a brief chat between
thinly connected comrades

the frowns
on their faces
showed me that
my well-intended attempts
were misplaced and misconstrued
because once I left my role
as benevolent interloper
I would become
an intruder
another trespasser
to be dealt with
arbitrarily

so I'd quickly
depress the accelerator
and speed harmlessly past
retaining my acknowledged place
in the desired scheme
of our situation

later
I moved on
to my next assignment
on the other side
of the country
doomed forever to remain
a curious transient
in the settled lives
of settled
people

maybe someday
I'd be the one
to offer
the friendly wave
to some passing stranger
as I busily worked
tending my yard

I'd wonder
what diversion
kept the driver
continually wandering
one way or the other
and wonder too
when I would once again
have a destination
waiting for me
beyond the
horizon