Where Were They Walking To?

I used to walk the lane.

It was as familiar to me as my own thoughts.

I knew where the holes were that had rough stones sticking out that made me always question why tires didn’t go flat.  I knew where we had patched holes that had grown large enough to appear like small ponds.  We first used concrete forms someone had given my dad.  Later we tried to fill those larger holes with bricks.  Even now, if you did far enough down, you will come across those bricks.  Bricks that used to be part of a chimney.  I knew where the raspberries grew along the side of the lane.  Just the one side.  And I knew where the hidden breaks in the briars and overgrowth were.  The hidden entrance to the paths that led you to the field of trees.  By dodging along the winding path you could make your way from being visible to invisible.  And without knowing it, I watched that field of trees grow into ‘the woods’.

I walked the lane.  Alone.   Often times though, not alone at all.  My imagination would bring along my grandparents, my greats, and great greats-and further past greats.  I would imagine the high top black shoes of a century ago as they crunched along this lane.   There were sometimes the heavier boot of the working man that would be a great great grandfather or great great great uncle.  Or the bare feet of any of those generations as they tripped about on warm spring or hot summer days.   Their view was likely different, yet eerily similar, as mine.   I walked with any of them during their childhood, or their adulthood, all depending on where my mind was when I was imagining them.

Where were they walking to?  Or from?

I was walking to the little old store at the top of the lane.  And though the store was old it wasn’t as old as when these people I imagined-walked without me.

I may have been walking to get away from squawking siblings.  Did they?  I may have been walking to visit a friend who once I reached the top of the lane, I turned right or cut through the field and went down the road.  Or I might walk past that and walk to the old school house.  And how many times did the young ones walk this lane to get to the school house.   Did it seem like a longer walk to them, then?   Did they drudge up and down that lane dreading school?  Or anticipating the new things they might learn in that one room school house.

Did they walk to meet friends?  Most of the homes I saw were not there when this lane was first begun to be walked upon.  Did they walk to gatherings of neighbors to celebrate events?  Did they walk to that little cemetery if a neighbor or friend died?  Though they never walked there to bury a relative, they’re all in church cemeteries.    Did they walk to the far away town?  Or were there closer establishments long ago lost to time?  Did they walk to work or was work always here, on the farm.

As old and worn out as that lane was I know they traveled it.  And traveled it well.   I know from receipts they left behind that they traveled it long before the invention of automobiles.   I know they traveled to even farther away towns for important farm supplies.  This lane saw their travels to and from by horse, by wagon, and later by automobile.

How many travels were started there, on that lane.  Could they ever have imagined a world like we have now?  While they walked that lane.   Like I think of their world, then.

That lane.

I can still see the rocks.  The bricks.  The branches of the trees all along the side.  The berries and briars.

I’ll walk it again, in my thoughts.

It will always be familiar and full of imagination.

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29 thoughts on “Where Were They Walking To?

  1. I often think of a road that I use to walk on as a very young child to get to my two friends house. I think of the boneyard we found right off that road and of the trantula spider that got mad at me because I threw a rock at it (and missed). Thank you for taking us on this walk through your childhood.

  2. We have a hike bike trail here where I live. Out on it regularly, we run into all sorts of new faces and I’m reminded of how many are no longer with us on this earth or have moved away. How things do change. This reminded me of that and how the memories of what was can be either painful or comforting. I like to remember the good ones. Have a great week. xoxo

    • Thank you Paulette. Have a wonderful week as well. 🙂

      Isn’t it interesting, that we can ‘see’ people and not really know them. Because they are part of our vision and passing every day. Then, when they are not there, we notice. I hope the universe feels that.

  3. russtowne says:

    Thank you for bringing us with you on walks down that lane and for evoking memories of our own walks down similar lanes, Colleen.

  4. Beautiful piece Colleen. Always nice to think of those that went before.

  5. Debra says:

    I would imagine that just contemplating the thoughts of times past, the obstacles and opportunities that came to each person you’re remembering, and the decisions they may have made with lessons learned would nourish your own soul. Lovely way to think of special people.

  6. reocochran says:

    I really felt your curiosity and interest in your ancestors and family members. I loved this post almost the best one ever! Colleen, this should be put in a magazine or short story collection. Beautiful post.

    • Thank you Robin! 🙂 I’ve always been very curious about the lives of my ancestors. I’ve been very fortunate to see a lot through pictures, places and people. It only left me wanting more. 🙂

  7. It is fun to think about people who came before us and what they did and I felt this in a beautiful way in this piece! Always something different here on this special blog! Thanks for thinking and giving us things to think about!

  8. Heartafire says:

    Such a lovely pie ce of nostalgia. Not everyone had a lane. We had one at my grandparents house it was very hard dirt that lead to an unpaved road Lined with blackberries and pine trees. The mail box was there and I waited in the cold for the school bus one winter when I stayed on withmy grAndparents. I love the idea of a lane. Thanks for bringing back that memory.

  9. April says:

    every time we hike the areas where Civil War battles i feel the young men awo fought so bravely for what they believed.

    • Yes, that is the kind of thing that gets me. When we were in Gettysburg and Antietam I would imagine that horribleness and fear. And bravery in the very face of their fear.

      • April says:

        They fought their way through the south during the hottest months of the year. I imagine what it must have been like during all the humidity, bugs, and heat.

  10. niaaeryn says:

    That is a lot to ponder. History and ancestry are fascinating…I almost felt like I was on the path with you. Makes me wonder about the paths my forebears took too. It does make one think, in a good way. 🙂

    • I’m glad about the thinking part. I have a pretty active imagination. And I truly would try to imagine their clothes. Their food. Their existence, compared to mine. I’m glad you walked with me.

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