Friday, November 6, 2015

Meanwhile, outside

  "I could never live as isolated again as you do," my co-worker says. I try not to laugh. Where I live is as far from being isolated as I can imagine. There's always something going on.

Every work day, from six in the morning until about four thirty, I sit happily typing at a laptop near a window facing the street. (I do get up and walk around. And go exercise. But still, there is a lot of sitting. Or standing). In the five years I've done this, I have had lots of time to observe what goes on outside. My street is a easy way to get to the little state park trails and to the lake. So I see people on their way to places.

First, about dawn, there is Intrepid Bike Rider, who perseveres through most of the winter. He always rides the same route--to the head of the lake and back. I feel that thirty degrees and below is just too cold to ride my bike, but he doesn't.

Next, there's Dog Walker Lady, who slowly, slowly walks past. Though her pace is glacial, she is out there on days that make me afraid, those sheets of ice days. The office workers stream by on their wellness half hour, bound for the park. There are occasional runners, not many, enough that I know them by gait. Once in awhile, a horse and rider clops by.

Sometimes the regulars disappear and I only hear of their fate later. The guy with Parkinsons, who rode his bike up and down the street several times, ended up passing on. I don't know why Slow Jogger Lady no longer uses my street--is she no longer in town? The old guy who used to creep up and down the street for hours--vanished. The guy in a cowboy hat and boots who used to stride to the grocery store and back every day--gone too. I can only imagine what has become of them.

I notice what happens on my street and so do my neighbors. They report to me if they see a strange car in my driveway. I text them when I am gone on a fire assignment to see if they can close my windows against rain. The kid across the street brings me a comic he has drawn and I send him home with homemade cookies. The other teleworker and I keep each other informed of solicitors: "there's a guy selling meat out of a van coming your way!" "Beware, Jehovah's witnesses enroute!"

Isolated? I don't think so. I know isolated, I have been there. Islands accessible by air and boat, a town of fifty souls on the loneliest highway. I just have to look out my window to know that this isn't it.

What's the most isolated place you've ever lived? Did you like it?





19 comments:

  1. I've never lived in a isolated place as a adult. My dream has always been to live in a little cabin in the mountains far away from the main stream, but instead we just live in a small town and spend most of our summer in more isolated places.
    I did however grow up in a small farm in rural Pennsylvania, where my sisters and I spent every moment we could riding our horses or hiking the in the woods that surrounded us. It was a most awesome childhood and I credit that and my parents for giving me the sense of adventure and love of nature that I have.

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    1. Nice...I wish kids still grew up that way.

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  2. My years in GA - there were four humans and a baby, three dogs and four cats living in three residences in the very middle of 36,000 acres of national wildlife refuge. Closest grocery was 45 minutes away - I feel that was pretty isolated. Lonely, too.

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    1. That must have been interesting....I lived on a refuge in Florida with a drive to town as well. You had to be very self entertaining.

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    2. Love the phrase "four humans and a baby."

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  3. I've never lived anywhere as isolated as I'd like to! How did you do that....the snowflakes???

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    1. I can't remember! I think on Picasa maybe?

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  4. My hometown in the U.P is the most isolated place I've ever lived. Not because it really was isolated (we were 10 mi from town), but because my dad was too strict and I wasn't often allowed to go out on the weekends. As a teenager, I was fragile enough, but when kept away from my friends almost every weekend, it was like I was locked in a cage.

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    1. I didn't really think about the other forms of isolation until I read your and Carol's comments. It's interesting, I once lived in a small ranching town where I felt completely alone. Highways led there, so it wasn't physically isolated. But emotionally it really was.

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  5. That sounds nice, actually. Beautiful and quiet, but not too isolated. My most isolated living was in the mountains of Colorado, but we still had neighbours, and took community seriously. Nevertheless, where I'm living now is perhaps a little further from people. I make it a point to keep in contact with neighbors, work in a town about 50 minutes away, go to church, etc.

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    1. I know what you mean about keeping in contact with people. There's more than one way to be isolated. My work, for example, is very isolating so I need to try hard to balance that out.

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  6. Hey Mary, I certainly know what living isolated is all about. Before getting my town property, I lived a very remote lifestyle. Then, I built this town cabin and haven't spent as much time at my remote cabin as I like. To tell the truth, I am thinking about selling my town cabin and living permanently at my remote cabin. There I have 900 ft. of lakefront, view of Denali from my picture window and the Beluga mountains behind me and wildlife abounds. Anyway, Sometimes, you can be isolated with people around you.

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    1. I agree so much, John! And I dream of a remote cabin like yours. I'd like to have people drop in now and again, but I am really good with my own company.

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  7. I got a laugh out of the guy selling meat from the van and the Jehovah's witnesses. We lived in the middle of nowhere out in the country. Both the meat guy and the Jehovah's witnesses came by many more times out there then they ever did when we lived in town.

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    1. My relatives say that the religious people follow me. I was at their lake cabin this summer and everyone else was gone and some Mormons showed up. They had never stopped there before. Hmm....

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  8. Well Mary, apparently you are in need of 'saving'! LOL.
    There are many forms of isolation to be sure. I was talking with one of our fisheries biologists recently and she said her husband finds this area too remote, to far from shopping and 'fun stuff'. "Fun stuff"? She said he's a city boy. There isn't anything I miss from more populated areas, and frankly I feel really 'unisolated' in this, what most people would call small, eastern Oregon town. It's much too busy for me, with the highway running right through, and there is no privacy, even outside of town the land rises and dips so often that you can see houses everywhere you look and hear dogs barking.
    I long for My brand of isolation, real quiet, vast distances for the eyes, miles to any kind of human construct. I like to have to travel to get to people, not have them all around me. Community is great, but at a safe distance!

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  9. Well Mary, apparently you are in need of 'saving'! LOL.
    There are many forms of isolation to be sure. I was talking with one of our fisheries biologists recently and she said her husband finds this area too remote, to far from shopping and 'fun stuff'. "Fun stuff"? She said he's a city boy. There isn't anything I miss from more populated areas, and frankly I feel really 'unisolated' in this, what most people would call small, eastern Oregon town. It's much too busy for me, with the highway running right through, and there is no privacy, even outside of town the land rises and dips so often that you can see houses everywhere you look and hear dogs barking.
    I long for My brand of isolation, real quiet, vast distances for the eyes, miles to any kind of human construct. I like to have to travel to get to people, not have them all around me. Community is great, but at a safe distance!

    ReplyDelete

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