Vermont continues to delight! I made it up the Middlebury Gap (2144 ft), and down to the east border of VT. I'm staying with Nancy Theriault, another friend of my aunt Julie, in Hartland Four Corners. Thanks Julie, you've got great friends, to be sure!! It's a big farmhouse with chickens, super-friendly golden retriever, gardens, a pond (wanting for rain!), mini lean-tos, willows, pines, a rabbit, a piano, wood stove ... not to mention two swell hosts.
I did my longest (intentional) day yet in getting here. After camping below the Midd Gap, I probably came about 65 miles, and was feeling okay when I made it. But my achilles started creaking again, and my knees were hurting ... thankfully the weather was not so great today, and my bike needed some repairs, so I was lead to take a day off, and relax a little. got to play the piano for a good chunk of time (from the selection of sheet music at the piano, i was more disappointed to be have just missed Nancy's musician daughters), went to the bike shop, got some lunch, hung out at a yoga/naturopathic medicine center, harvested dandelion greens for dinner, played banjo on the porch as the weather cleared, eliminated 10 lbs of weight from my packs, and tended to my heel with plantain/willow/tumeric/arnica. All in all a fine day! Back on the bike tomorrow, down to 35 lbs (or up to 35 lbs, from no weight for today's 10 miles). North up the Conn. River, and then East from Dartmouth or so.
I found a couple sheets of paper that I had packed with me ... they were some thoughts I was writing to myself before I left, and I'm glad for the reminders at this point in the journey. here are some exerpts:
(mid-august) - "Fall's coming - it's already here. I can tell, because every so often now, my heart skips a beat as my body tries to process the image that drifted through my head - of burgundy leaves, golden weeds, orange sunset light on it all, wind breakers, apples, pumpkins, hayrides, new beginnings, and dying plants. I love the fall, my goodness. The image fades, but luckily it fades out just as the world around me tucks itself around me as the very same thing. I don't know why it is, but everything seems to fall into place this time of year, and contentment controls it all."
(following a purging list of negative ideas, including things like "deer eating the garden," emerald ash borer imminent," "eyesight limiting," "judgement, expectations," "anger, apathy, fatigue," etc.) - "... feels like all these things are leaking in, creeping in, and as the walls become more porous, the despair begins flooding in. So I gather myself to the center, to my core, where no fear has reached. From my core, I gather all of the positivity, light, beauty, hope, gratitude, breath, sacredness, joy, and love - and once enough has gathered, I push outward with unmatchable strength, like a man busting out of an egg shell. The negative emotion fall away and dissolve, and all that remains is my most pure love for all things great, and all things small ..."
(one more for now ...) - "I release control and have faith in the universe. It's a lot to let go of, but everything I've ever created was destined for destruction. (everything I've ever made was meant to be destroyed). It's that instant of relaxation upon realizing that I don't need to do anything; nothing moves due to my tension; instant of relaxation between voluntary release and involuntary defenses reigniting. I smile, I dance, I connect, I breathe, I relax, I concentrate. With positive intention, pure, glad, and sweet, I move freely about the world. It's a lot to hang on to ... let it go. Give it back to Mama, I don't need it anymore. Give it back to Mama, she'll lighten your load. Give it back to Mama, let it fall out through your feet. give it back to Mama, through your hands into the earth. Give it all back to Mama, you don't need it anymore. Defenses that once served you well are now un-needed. Beliefs from not so long ago are getting in the way. Give it back to Mama, for her to decompose it, recreate ...."
Fall is so here, it's great. I'm bummed only about the health of my joints; all else is fantastic! I'm slightly worried about the combination of rain with cold nights (i had only previously considered these things separately, I guess!), but I got a snazzy pair of orange creamsicle wind pants at a church thrift store in Vergennes. they will clearly solve of my weather worries. and now to bed, in a bed, and in a room so quiet it makes my ears ring :-)