Out in the middle of nowhere.
Yes, out in the middle of nowhere, dear reader. THAT is where you will find some of the dearest little old men you could ever hope to encounter.
To wit: the other day I was running along, minding my business, when I came across the dearest, littlest, oldest man I've ever seen in my entire life! He was sitting on a rock, hunched over, beneath a prickly bush which afforded him the sparsest measure of shade.
I stopped, of course. At first I made sure he was still breathing. Then I made sure this wasn't another moral test, like my encounter with the blue carpenter bee or the ringneck snake, to see if I would leave a desired specimen in its natural habitat.
Because believe me, my first instinct was: can I take him home??
After visiting a moment, however, I was able to ascertain he did, in fact, belong to someone else already.
We talked on and he told me a bit about his life. People can tell you the saddest things in a mere matter of moments, dear reader. Out there, in the middle of nowhere, that little old man surprised himself, I think, by telling me about the death of his daughter last December.
He told me about it, then stopped talking and just sat there, caught by grief.
So we passed the time in silence.
I ached to move closer and sit down beside him, but if there's one rule about crossing paths with a total stranger out in the middle of nowhere, it's that you respect one another's space.
And who should I come across, but the legendary silver fox?
I'm pretty sure he's a legend in my mind alone, but when I see him racing across the desert, so wild and free, what else can my thoughts do but hearken unto mythical figures...to shapeshifters, winged shoes, and rites of passage?
But this time, he ruined all that.
This time he stopped and introduced himself.
I didn't want that, dear reader. I didn't want to know his name.
I wanted what I had in my head.
I wanted to believe, at worst, I was catching a glimpse of some Hollywood look-alike and at best, of the ancient Norseman, of some silver-haired spirit who glides upon the wind.
But all that's been sacked like the ancient city of Troy.
I don't have high expectations, dear reader. I leave specimens in their habitats and forever live in regret, I wear the same yellow cardigan fifty days in a row, I adore my family and hope to someday finish writing my crazy, elusive story.
Plus ramen. And the odd dead beetle.
Is it too much to ask, then, when I'm out in the middle of nowhere and happen to cross paths with the mythical silver fox, that he not come and lay waste to my wee, harmless fantasy by telling me his name??