Tyringham, MA. I went exploring, seeking a new trail, and racing ahead of the snow that was forecast and to my delight was rewarded with new inspiration. My current theory is that hiking the same paths frequently puts me into autopilot-mode, rather like repeating the same workout routine, weights, treadmill, stretches, my muscles can plateau. My eye muscles need changing it up too in order to keep my ocular tissues alert for revelations.
In starting out I thought I was in for another cold, barren, leaf-strewn path (the result of those overstrained eyes) but as I climbed in elevation, I passed interesting crumbling stone walls and in rounding a corner my ears picked up a familiar sound. I wondered if it was road noise but that seemed very unlikely as I was a long way up from the road, then I thought it must be the wind in the trees, but the air was still. I kept ascending and craning my neck toward the sound and sure enough far below me was a rushing brook. It was too far down the hill to reach so I kept to the path ahead and the racing water got louder, taking me back to memories of my childhood at a favorite cabin (see blog post “The cabin that built me…”).
One delight of a new trail is stumbling upon the unexpected, like being attracted to someone for the first time, you feel the excitement, the rush. Today I met a new beautiful rushing friend, and my heart was pounding. Around here they call this a waterfall, though this California girl knows what REAL waterfalls look like. But I’m not complaining it was a beautiful cascade and a sublime treat to find lush life in the middle of frozen winter. I called her Belle, so sappy, but later looked her up and found her proper name, Camp Brook.
After hiking all along the creek, hopping from rock to rock, I said my good by with a parting recital of “I was born upon thy banks, river…” and went up further only to walk into the second surprise, a pond!! A sparkling gem, frozen over and the source of the lovely downstream brook, with a cute little bench someone had installed along the banks. A bit of snow began to fall and the wind broomed flakes across the ice with beautiful swan-like moves, and every now again they would up and do a little twirl like an ice skater. I wished that I had brought pen and paper to sit and journal or draw, but alas this day I was without them not expecting such beguiling scenes.
The sun was lowering and it was time for me to continue on and find the path around the mountain back to my car. I realized the conundrum that not only is there delight in looking with new eyes but in contradiction, I’d love to sit here every day like the Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and watch changes take place from moment to moment. I can’t wait to come back here and stretch my looking muscles along with my observation skills to see the details that familiarity breeds.