The Changes To Rural Life


Three deer walk along the fencerow as Paul Simon is singing “You Can Call Me Al” in the background. The deer seem to have an affinity for the music as they shake their tails and perk up while turning their ears to the sounds emanating from the cabin on this cold morning. I think to myself that I should take a picture, but writing about it seems the more common form for me these days. 

Inside, a few moths flutter back to life from their hibernating nap as warmth from the sunlight wakes them. They are usually annoying as they bounce off the computer screen after dark, but on this morning I find them as entertaining as the deer listening to the music. I really should open the window and let them out as undoubtedly more moths will find their way inside at some point during the day.

Rural life here isn’t what it was ten years ago. The birds still sound mostly the same, the deer still travel most of the same trails, the squirrels, skunks, armadillos, and turkey are still abundant. But the presence of human noise has gotten progressively worse over the last decade. My first experience with this was near Fort Garland in Colorado when I first started noticing the superabundance of roads covering the hillsides. The landscape now looks scarred in that area.

There are signs this once happened here where I currently reside in rural North Texas as well. During the oil boom there were areas where hillsides were turned into grids for potential expansion. Black and white photos still hang on the walls in county government buildings displaying towns whose centers have long since vanished to the eyes of most who pass through now.

However, the wildlife carry on. Generations create new trails crossing road beds long since abandoned and unnoticed by most existing human generations today. In some distant future that I cannot imagine, I’m sure the same will be true of the cabin and its foundation where I live right now. But who knows, maybe some future writers will be entertained by the moths that fly through their holographic displays or bounce off the lenses of their augmented reality glasses as they sit within their rural structures watching the deer pass by. I wonder what music they will be listening to?