Saw my neighbor walking his dog this morning, gave a wave, and, as usual, got a vigorous wave back. He'd been gone for a week, no idea where. It's good to have him back, and to have that particular hole in my world filled again.
The guy who lives next door to him is another loner. Both his parents are gone -- meaning dead -- so he must be living off his legacy. Plus medicare. I know he doesn't go to work. You see him lounge around all day, every day, sometimes toying with his old white Volvo, or fussing over the lawn, or deadheading his annuals in their bed out front. He has very few teeth left in his mouth, so when he talks, he mumbles. If you listen to him, you need to make some educated guesses as to what he's saying, and you nod a lot. He too has a dog, an old retriever named Harley. The big cuss still has the energy to stick his white-whiskered snout into the arse-hole of every young pup who comes along. The two of them like to hang out near the boat launch and gossip with the guys going out fishing.
Who knows what they talk about. They don't say much, the fishermen, they're too intent on getting out onto the lake, where they can smoke and cast their lines, and escape the cares of the week. Fishing's only partly about the fish. I love to see them out there, early in the morning, creatures of habit, just like their fisher-cousins, the herons and cormorants. These men, who work hard at their trades, who don't talk much, true libertarians, they belong out there. They're as much a part of nature as any creature that walks these woods. Just like my neighbor with his dog.
Just like me, with my coffee, my paper, and my momentary freedom.