Thursday, July 21, 2011


Oh, the delays, the procrastinations, and the putting-offs!

Do you know how many blog posts I've written in my head over the past weeks?

Since my last post about going up Alander, I have walked, hiked, trespassed, sat in front of a waterfall, eaten more wild berries, made granola, taken more pictures of flowers, and taught three poetry classes.

I also got to experience a Great Barrington parade in honor of the town's 250th anniversary! And what a parade it was.

My pictures don't quite capture the full spirit of the event―how it felt to walk slowly down Main Street, floats and tractors and clubs of all shapes and sizes, and run into people I know (as much a part of parading as the parade itself). A year ago, it wouldn't have been so. Stopping here to talk to Joan. Stopping there to sit on a stoop with Sarah and watch the gymnasts front-walkover by. I got my first real sunburn of the season. Had a cold drink.

Good old-fashioned summer fun. (And all out right outside my door.)

Boys with rhythm:

Women with rhythm, and really pretty dresses:

A big man in a tiny car.(Who are the Shriners, anyway? And why do they drive around in miniature autos?)

A cool video of a cool-ass bike. Some kind of antique bike club...


The most rockin' float of the parade by our local samba enclave:

And, of course, you can't have a parade w/out Smoky:

So that was Great Barrington on July 10.

To come: More pictures of flowers. Because I can't stop.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Taking It up a Notch

So today my friend M. took me up Alander Mountain. 6 miles round trip. A good percentage of the tract is uphill and good percentage of that tract is *steep* and uphill.

Today was also hot and humid. And the trail was still damp from the last rains we had so it was buggy. I also felt a hot-spot forming on my heel (underneath the moleskin I'd applied before the hike). Joy!

Then we got to the peak. The reward. Panoramic views of NY, MA, and CT all in one shot.

The next reward?: A really good avocado. Then an orange. Then half a Cliff Bar. And some half-melted dark chocolate. Then water, water, water. Then...M., a berry expert, picked me a handful of wild blueberries, tiny and sweet. And I ate them two at a time staring out at the Catskills.

After the descent, a big and healthy lunch. A good day all in all. I feel tired and worked in the best way possible. If I hadn't been taking my walks the past 6 weeks, I'd have suffered going up that hill. As it was, I was challenged, but not embarrassed. :)

My legs felt strong. And my body able.

Nothing else inspiring to say today. The pictures tell the tale.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Graffiti & Gratitude

When I take the Castle Hill route, I have to walk under the train tracks, through a little tunnel, and up a set of stairs.

This morning, with the light and my mood, the coolness in the air (54 degrees and the first day of July!), I spent a little time with the graffiti in the tunnel. It's a mix of once polished mural and gritty Great Barrington teen scrawl (despite what some may think about Great Barrington, it does have just takes a minute to see it):

This one is a good directive for this new life of mine that includes walks:

(In gold spray paint on a rusted-out banister: free your inner [couch] potato. Easier to listen to this way, an affirmation with edge.)

This one, tho, is my absolute favorite. I think it's brilliant. I love most the little monster-alien's left chicken-scratch hand:

Then I came up and out of the tunnel and found this:

And this:

And this one I took special for you, my favorite big old tree:

On today's stroll, I also ran into a friend who stopped and talked with me, while her car idled. While we were talking a big-ass utility truck slowed near us, looking for a downed power line. I knew just the one he meant (I thought) and pointed him in the right (wrong) direction. He eventually found his sister truck just up the block from where my friend and I were having our spontaneous morning meet-up.

Once my friend drove away, I got to walk past the utility mania and interact with the burly dude from National Grid. I apologized for leading him astray. He said it was okay. He smiled. And was chewing gum. And adjusted his hard hat. He said they needed to know about that other one too (at the bottom of Castle Street, at the top of the stairs that lead back down to the tunnel). It's outside of a house that no one seems to inhabit. It's been there for weeks: a big branch pinning down a gather of wires and cables.

I am now delighting (that word again) in the fact that I live in a place where I can run into someone I know, who stops their car to say good morning. And talk to a friendly and appropriately macho telephone worker man.

I've lived other places like this. But not for a very long time.