A Closer Look
A gravel road offers a lot more to see when you are walking on it than when you are speeding along at 55 mph.
For example, you can see what the grader accomplished when he went rumbling by yesterday and it looked like he was just kicking up dust. You can see that his blade scraped off the brome and weeds that were creeping into the roadway from out of the ditch. And you can see that his blade turned up old gravel, spreading it out where it might otherwise have been beaten down into the earth by the traffic.
You can hear birdsong when walking at 5-6 mph that you can’t hear at 55: blackbirds, chickadees, meadowlarks and occasionally the scream of a soaring hawk.
At a place where the creek crosses the road, you can see that a backhoe made an attempt to clear flood debris. It was clear for a few days, but the swollen creek soon filled it up again, debris straining against a doomed barbed wire fence.
Invisible to the driver, but obvious to a walker are the entrances to ground squirrel burrows. Just holes in the road with small piles of dirt and gravel to mark their presence, they speak of life underground, out of sight, down in the subterranean darkness. Who knows what nefarious plans and schemes for survival are made down there?
You can see the new gravel that was spread just a few days ago and how it has filled in the soft spots in the road where potholes threatened.
The color and fragrance of wild roses, goldenrod, red cover and dozens of other wild flowers come into perfect focus to a walker. As does the trash: beer and pop cans, fast food sacks and so on – containers people have sucked the goodness from and discarded.
There is a lot more to see when you slow down and take a closer look.