A pox on big-shot TV ads. My name-brand cell phone whimpers "out of network" on the mountain backroads where I hang. Inconvenient? It severs my daily contact with the Housewatch Crew. Plan B then depends on battered and disrespected pay phones that still manage to survive here and there. They usually accept my phone card - and all's well for that day. Not this year, however. Each pay phone call now imposes a 95 minute surcharge punctuated by a huge flushing sound. From the start of this year's trip (unbeknownst to me) there were only three precious calls left on the card.
I'm a worrier. Hearing on the first call that 95 minutes had vanished shocked my nervous system, tripped the 'Check Engine' light and registered on the local seismograph. Anxious preoccupation over losing contact with the Home Crew shut down my capacity to appreciate. Angst and tunnel vision began to consume the trip.
On Day 8, with one call left, I stopped by the pay phone in Headwaters, Virginia. With cautious keystrokes I found a recorded menu that passed me to another menu, then to another with a teaser 'to buy more minutes, press seven'. Somehow, cards and codes succeeded bloating the deflated balance with enough minutes for "out of network" surcharges till closure.
The Refresh Button had been pressed. The dark cloud lifted. There were no Housewatch messages that day; all's o.k. Floating away from Headwaters I turned north on Cowpasture Road and, two miles later, eased to the shoulder for this shot. The field note reads, "Hooo-aahh! How beautiful the countryside…."
© d090531-020 Mountain Farm
Cr 614 Cowpasture Road
Highland County, Virginia
Sunday 31 May 2009