My poetry reading in Vermont was for the Rutland Unitarian Universalist Church. I read there a number of years ago, though I can't remember when - the years all seem to blend into one time. There was a good response today and a couple of people who weren't quite into poetry came away with a different view of what poetry is. They actually liked what I presented!
Also had a good talk with one of the members who is from Buffalo, NY, my home town. A retired English Professor who I enjoyed very much conversing with. I hope we can cross paths again in the future.
Later in the day, Anna and I took a hike in the Green Mountains on a trail that was also part of the Appalachian Trail and the Vermont Long Trail. Four and a half miles hiking uphill to Little Rock Pond and then back down to where we left one of the cars. This area was devastated a couple of years ago by Hurricane Irene and there were many evidences of it throughout the area. Downed trees, washed out stream banks. It is amazing what the power of water can do.
It felt good to get out on a longer hike, to get out into the mountains.
Mossy rocks and stream.
Loon and rock at Little Rock Pond.
Along the way we found many mushrooms. There has been a fair amount of rainfall this year which leads to a good mushroom fruiting. I found a few Oyster mushrooms, which are a good edible, but I didn't gather any. I enjoy the sight of mushrooms, their color, shape, growing environment, as much as I enjoy eating the edible ones.
Some of the many mushrooms we saw.
It was good to get out into the mountains, to spend time in the natural world. I need to balance the time on this 14 week journey between nature, people and creativity. Today was a move in the direction of the natural world. The people aspect of this journey will happen because of the nature of the journey, giving poetry readings. The creativity will happen because of the nature of the journey, poetry readings. I need to make the natural world part of the journey happen because it's not part of the nature of the journey. So days like this rejuvenate my spirit and I need to make sure these kind of days happen in some kind of regular way.
At the end of the day Anna and I went out to play Bocce in the town park. When she was up on Wheeler Hill a few weeks ago she beat me twice and was the winner of the Wheeler Hill bocce tournament. Today was my day to get even with her. The game was at a 10/10 score but she got two points on the next round and won the tournament. So, Anna is the Wheeler Hill and Green Mountain Bocce Ball champion of 2013.
Wait till next year, Anna!
Anna and Jack live in Wallingford. In the center of town is a fountain with a statue called "The Boy Wth the Leaking Boot."
There are at last 24 of these statues around the world but the origin of it is obscure. I first saw one in Houlton, ME years ago. This is my second one. I haven't been able to find the story behind the statue. There is a book written about it, but I suspect it doesn't have the that information either. A little mystery.
So, a great day and a half visit with old friends here in the mountains of New England. Tomorrow I head to southern New England, a reading at the library in Woonsocket, RI.
A week has nearly gone by. Another 13 weeks ahead. So much has already happened, so much yet to experience.
Start of week two. Sent out on the road with Anna's fresh-made banana bread.
Before leaving the house I chose a route to wander southeast through the Green Mountains heading eventually to Woonsocket, RI for my next reading. Anna offered an alternative route, thinking it would be better roads and a nicer drive. So, I took her advice and headed out on another clear, bright morning.
As I was driving along there was a sign for Stratton Mountain Ski area. I recalled that Helen and Scott Nearing lived near Stratton Mountain in their Vermont years here. I then recalled that the town they lived in was Jamaica. So I pulled over, looked at the map and realized the route Anna chose for me went right through Jamaica! (Thanks Anna.)
When I got to Jamaica, I stopped at the town store and inquired about where they had lived. I was given directions to their place (follow the road with all the bridges) and about 8 miles out of town came to it. It's a private residence so I didn't enter the grounds and the place was landscaped with trees and bushes so not real visible from the road. But along the road was an historic sign that told about their lives there in Vermont.
It was quite special to stop at this place. Their book, "Living the Good Life," was a bible for the back-to-the-landers of the 60s and 70s. I was certainly influenced by it and it was an important book for the rural community I was a part of.
Here's a link to the Wikipedia page about them:
They relocated from Vermont to Maine in the early 1950s partly because of the ski industry expanding in Vermont. Now, maybe a half a mile before their place, a golf school is in operation. I wonder how they would have felt about that? I think I could guess.
I stayed off the interstates and wandered southeast through a little bit of New Hampshire and then Massachusetts. On a side road a covered bridge spanned the Ashuelot River. This was a still usable bridge (I passed one in Vermont earlier in the day that wasn't) so I of course drove through it and took some pics. Here's a link to a side view of the bridge and some info about it:
I was surprised to find that the road through Massachusetts traveled for many miles through forested terrain. The Quabbin Woods a sign proclaimed. Looked like an interesting region to possibly explore someday.
along side of road
browsing flock of wild turkeys
near Moose Crossing sign
Woonsocket, an old mill city that has been in decline. An interesting old New England city that has been hurt by the declining economy of the last two decades.
My reading at the library was attended by 7 people, including an old friend, Susan, from Corning. Susan left Corning about 14 years ago and this was the first time seeing her since then. She offered me to stay at her and her partner's house that they just moved into with two children a dog and a cat. Was nice to see her and to have some time to catch up on what's happened over these years.
The small audience really appreciated the reading and one woman, who had never been to a poetry reading and really enjoyed it, said to me afterwards, "Wait till I tell the other Ladies what they missed! They should have been here."
So, one more New England state to go. A reading in Palmer, MA at the library where I'm following the reading with my US 20 program of photos, stories and poems. The library is right on US 20, my old familiar road.
Haiku left at Susan's house before leaving early this morning:
long time since last seen
so many seasons have passed
same smile, same laughter
As I headed west out of the greater Providence area lines of cars headed east into the city, most likely headed to work. Got me to thinking of Charlie Rossiter's poem in The Spirit of T'ao Ch'ien
book we published last year:
What Kind of Job Do You Have?
Blue Collar? White Collar?
I spend most days
in a t-shirt.
is a no collar job.
I had breakfast at Cindy's Diner just west of Providence. Pictures of Elvis, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio. American nostalgia.
The rest of the travel part of the day was uneventful. No great scenery, no interesting adventure. Just a day on the road.
The event at the Palmer Public Library was wonderful. 22 people attended the poetry reading and the US 20 program that followed. The library is right on US 20 and most of the people attended because of that. I started out with a poetry reading and then moved into my multimedia program of words and pics of my US 20 journey.
The audience loved the program. A lot of questions were asked and books purchased. Mary, the library contact person, said she would send out an email to the libraries in her region saying something to the effect of, "Hey, this guy is good, book him." I may be back out this way after finishing this tour.
I'm at a point on this journey that feels like I'm settling into being on the road. There's always a transition time, a time for adjustment, for getting your head and heart into what you are doing. I think I'm at that point now. Home is behind, the road ahead is in the future. I'm trying as hard as I can to be in the moment.
Yet, there are experiences that I've already had on this journey that are constantly appearing in the now as I travel down the road. The moment transfixed into eternal memory. It's all a mixture. Before, now, after - all one time, one moment. Where I go with this, where it leads me, is for the road to find out.