The Side Of The Road

I was driving, outside of town, in the countryside.

I saw him walking as I headed further into the country.  He was carrying two bags.  Walking with a slight limp.  Carrying two duffel style backpacks.  He walked with his back to traffic.  He didn’t turn to indicate he wanted to hitch a ride.  He seemed intent on the walking.

As I passed I thought how exciting.  A traveler.  I’ve read many books about people’s experiences walking across states, or countries.  I admire them.  I have pedaled my stationary bike across continents with these travelers and have enjoyed their adventures.

On my way back, I saw him again, still in the country side.  It was such a gorgeous day for walking.

This time, he was sat upon one of his bags, off of the side of the road.  His large, wide brimmed, hat was pulled so low I could just see the dark of his stubble or bearded face.

This time, as I passed, I noticed how he did not look up.  He didn’t appear to be experiencing.  His body sat motionless.  Not moving.  Not looking around.  He did not seem to enjoy where he was.

And I felt something different than the admiration I felt the first time I saw him.

I felt sadness.  I wondered if he was lonely on this journey.  I thought maybe it wasn’t an adventure.  But nonetheless, still part of his journey.  Perhaps not as exciting as I first imagined.

Maybe he was lonely.  Or tired.  Even travelers out to experience the world must surely get tired.

I just felt different.  From the first, to the second, time I saw him.

No matter his journey I silently wished him well in my head as I continued on mine.

41 thoughts on “The Side Of The Road

  1. A story that shows again how sensitive and emphatic you are Colleen! Yes, it is difficult to assess people and situations. We do not know what is going on in the minds and hearts of people. But sensitive good observers like you feel the difference in the second glance. It would be nice if all humans had this gift. Your wish and your thoughts you have released will surely arrive in some way at the hiker. P.S.:The positions of the arms in your illustration shows everything!

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    • So was surely tired Colleen, a trip like this is exhausting, but they always pay off. I do not think that there is a reason to feel sad, your thoughts arrived safely, I´m sure he has already new energy….

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    • Thank you for noticing the arms Anie. I had a difficult time with them. I’m still not happy with his left arm. But what I was trying to do with them obviously worked since you noticed the message through them!! That makes me very happy. And thank you for your lovely comments.

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      • oh I can´t see a difference between the two arms. Anyway it is the question which is the left one…also this is a question of perspective, on which I always collapse..I´m happy if you are happy with my comments! : )

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  2. I’ll bet this traveler had no idea that anyone had given him as a much thought about his life as you have. I’ll also bet if he knew that he had left his mark on you in such a meaningful way – his life would be better. He’d be your friend – and then he’d never feel that he traveled alone.

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  3. It is so interesting how we make connections and feel emotions with complete strangers, even when the connections are brief and may only be because we’ve been in the same place at one time. Love the picture, too!

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    • Thank you BCM. Your comment makes me feel a bit more ‘normal’. 😉 I often think, and rethink, about people I have seen. I am curious about them. I wonder about them. And sometimes the connections are ‘just’ like this, a visual. ANd my applied thoughts and curiosities he evokes.

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  4. Colleen, the way you really notice people is valuable in and of itself. You are like a wordsmith and balladeer, telling the story through your words and lyrical lines in your art. Beautiful and showing how you care, sending off thoughts of “goodness” and “safe travels” into the air. xo ❤

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  5. Isn’t it interesting that we can create a story about someone based upon nothing concrete beyond our observations. I hope he was just fatigued from the length of his journey, and that the journey isn’t troubled. I am always impressed by how observant you are, Colleen. And kind hearted!

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