I bet that many of you can remember just riding around. You would ask someone what they were going to do this weekend and the answer was “just ride around “or you may have asked what are you doing? Oh, just riding around was often the answer. That has become thing of the past and pleasant memories. New things and favorite places were discovered on those rides with no purpose other to get away from the same old thing and see something new. There was no rush and no time limits. No worries.
We all know that things change; often not for the better. These days, it is extremely hard to justify any recreational travel. Thinking about the cost of driving just twenty miles one way and back home again can tend to make one stay home. Yes, filling the vehicle with gas and coming back the next day to fill it up again tends to be painful. Exploring and discovering new places and things close to home has become the wise thing to do. You may be surprised to find new things in places you thought you knew well. Each season brings new wonders to discover.
You may not know the simple joy of identifying a new species of insect, butterfly, plant or bird; but I can guarantee that you will enjoy the process immensely after you have experienced the feeling. It may not be easy to find out what it was but the resources are there and it will stimulate your brain a little. You get a little glow when you are finally right; too. We all still have access to a tract of woodlands, streams, wetlands and grown-up fields; they aren’t as numerous or big as they used to be but they are still there. These are prime spots for just walking around. The only necessary equipment is a bottle of water. Binoculars, bug spray or a camera may make your little stroll a little more enjoyable.
I have spent many quality hours just walking around with my dogs. I am rarely out there looking you anything in particular and I am often rewarded by something new. Pay attention to your dogs. They find will find and show you things if you let them. Go with the flow and don’t hurry them along. The best look at a Henslow’s Sparrow that I have ever got was actually sitting on my shoe. They are secretive small sparrows and it was sneaking away from one of my dogs. The only bad part of that encounter was that I had on a camera lens with a 4.5 ft. focus distance and I’m not that tall. I still do not have a photo of a Henslow’s.
Yes, we are captives of fuel prices and there isn’t much that we can do about it. We just have to make the best out of a bad situation and continue making the effort to enjoy our lives. Turning Sunday drives into daily walks can definitely add to the quality of life; sitting and staring can add even more to that. You never know what you may discover.
This article is from the August print edition of Two-lane Livin
(c) 2014 Randy Bodkins/High Virginia Outdoors All Rights Reserved