June 2, 2020

At Shaker Village, Hancock, MA.


Continued from last week…


If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine.  It’s lethal!

-Paul Coelho


We come across a gas station/convenience store and try to use their restroom, but it’s been closed, due to the virus.  It reminds me of being with my family, crossing the country from New York City to Salt Lake City, Utah, on November 22, 1963.  We were in Pennsylvania and it was getting dark.  The news of Kennedy’s assassination came over the car radio that afternoon and almost everything was closed down.  The signs outside motels were turned off, not because they were full, but because they were afraid.  Finally, we stopped at one and my mom and dad talked the proprietor into letting us spend the night.  There were four of us kids, ages 17 to 8, so that might have helped in the negotiations.  Next day, things improved, but people were still pretty upset and worried about what was going to happen next.  I’m going to have to ask Karen what her memories of the Kennedy assassination are; Christine was around one year old at the time and wouldn’t remember.  It felt to me, in some ways, like now, but the disruption didn’t last nearly as long.

And today, some fifty-seven years later, here we are, walking Waldo down a road that leads to Provincetown, MA in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic.  Life does take some interesting twist and turns.

We continue on down the road and, as we go, we can tell we’re getting closer to Pittsfield because there are more businesses and homes are closer together.  Still no sidewalks.  There aren’t many people we pass, only a handful, and those we do spontaneously keep more than six feet away.  We all know what’s going on, what the recommendations are, and nothing needs to be said about it.  The three of us are a friendly group and seek out conversation as we walk along.  The local denizens all appesr to be quite happy and weathering the viral storm quite well.  We mention we’re walking Waldo to Provincetown and they seem to think us interestingly unusual and wish us luck.  Maybe our ages add a little quirkiness to things too.  You know, a group of old farts thinking that it’s a good idea to walk 300 miles in the middle of a pandemic?  What could go wrong with that?  None we meet seem interested to join us and, to be honest, we don’t ask them to.

After just under four hours, we make it to the Big Y, get in the car we left there and drive to the car we left at the starting point.  It took more time to drive to and from home, about hundred and forty miles and just over two hours away, to the starting point than it did to do our walk.  It was a long day.  Waldo would have preferred the rail-trail, I’m pretty sure, although he is happy just to be out for a walk.

Me?  It feels good to be in the midst of a new adventure, as inconsequential as it is, and the company is good.  I lived with my family in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for a year and a half when I was twelve and thirteen years old.  That was a formative part of my life and the experience affected me profoundly in many ways, one of which was to permanently spoil me for adventure.  I don’t seem to be able to go for very long without doing some outrageous thing or other (at least as far as some might perceive it) in the spirit of adventure.  This walk is mild, compared to many I’ve been involved in, but adventure it is still.  And I like it.

One of the things I admire and respect about Christine the most is that she is her own woman.  She is no sheep.  Christine decides what she is going to do based on what Christine thinks is valid criteria.  Like me, she is a vagabond in life who follows her own counsel as to where she should step next.

Karen, I know less well, but she also seems to be quite an interesting individual who determines her own path.

Then there is Waldo.  Waldo is a newcomer to this planet, he’s only been here for twenty months, and every second of his life is a new adventure.  Rail-trail or highway, it’s all good.

The four of us make up a pretty offbeat and intrepid group.


Further down the road.

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