I have melded in my workplace from the bright lights big city into the shruburbs and lucky me for that as the kind of heightened awareness doggedness determination stubbornness and orneriness necessary in the city rattled me and battled me not that there wasn’t some perks to city life if you are rich and have some free time and like the arts and theater and fine wines and eating establishments there is plenty to do.
I mostly just worked there in Boss-town took an occasional lunch time nap on a park bench or on those cushions they provide at Post Office Sq. Park.
Once a year I got/get together with two old friends the “hermit” and the Scot, Willy Wallace” for Mountain Weekend a barely planned somewhat spontaneous foray where we would do ridiculously difficult hikes through those mountains while being eaten alive by black flies all to view a beaver pond or maybe see a moose or a bear and now at my advanced years I need to make adjustments but still need some lightly trammeled wilderness now and then to keep my head on my shoulders.
Now a days the hikes are short and easy and slow more like a walk in the woods and I have found kayaking to be a nice activity very calming and serene except for the getting in and out of the darn thing and getting it on and off the roof of the car you can just float along paddle now and then just to stay the course at least that’s the way I do it.
Pondering while wandering…
Do we ever understand gain wisdom or is it all just do it again and again?
In my youth in Lowell MA in the summers when we were free and we even got bored with playing baseball which was our favorite thing but because of the heat and humidity and long languid days making things with gimp bracelets and key chains and such and banging out ash trays by placing tin in a wooden mold and also banging a silver quarter repeatedly with a spoon to smooth the edges and make it smaller, ring size and then drilling the middle out of it highly illegal we were scolded by John the owner of the corner store.
My brother Billy was the Acre Youth Organization or Lowell Recreation Department group leader and got to wear a Pith Helmet and a forestry style shirt with a AYO patch identifying him as such and there was a female colleague wearing the same get-up very cute.
There was a pool in the North Common about 3 foot deep in the deep end this pool was generally closed or should have been dirty and broken glass and my Mother told me “Bobby don’t let me catch you going in that pool, I will tell your Father.”
We also swam in the canals and the mighty Merri-crack River below the falls and between the rocks all dangerous and dirty and smelly in the 1960’s.
My friend Paul said “hey Bobby, let’s hitchhike out to the Westford Quarry where my brother goes swimming with his friends.” If you need more info on quarries see movie “Breaking Away” or John Lennon’s first band the Quarrymen.
Yup and off we went may have picked up a few other peckerheads on the way and you know it was not a great day cloudy thunderstorms around but we needed an adventure and of course no one would give us a ride and it was ten miles. “Hey maybe your brother will be there and give us a ride home after.”
We walked along all in cut off jeans with the threads hanging down and white or black con’s verse sneakers t shirts of some sort and baseball caps’ de rigueur. We talked about girls firstly who we liked who was doing “it” “Brenda gave me a huge boner 3,000 miles long” “good one Joe, you need to stop thinking about Brenda and think about baseball so you ain’t tripping over that thing.”
Probably why we all soon gave up baseball.
And so we walked on hobo delinquent youth the walking giving rise to our innermost thoughts and wildest dreams some fell off along the way and others joined in Paul and I just walked doggedly determined but somehow I began to gain strength as we went and though I grew tired there was no doubt in my mind I could walk all day if I wanted and I pretty much did too.
We finally arrived and found other groups of kids there smoking and drinking beer and talking trash. The idea was to jump in from the ledges the smallest drop about 25 feet and even that made me scared shitless but I did it a few times.
The highest ledge was 100 feet and I heard that someone died leaping from it. The coppers visited the place regularly so we had to be on the lookout.
Paul’s brother was there but something was not “right” about him he seemed a little crazy and cocky probably he was drinking. When no one was paying attention I walked into the woods and just kept going something about the vibe I sensed danger and fear and loathing.
I knew it was a long way home but I looked forward to the journey anyway and at some point it thundered and then came the deluge and I broke into a trot and I wondered how long I could keep it going.
When I got close to home the Sun broke through and a rainbow and I lay in the park in the warmth and felt all my muscles and joints ache almost pleasantly so and my clothes quickly drying out I fell asleep in the midst of the city humming all around me.