“Wachusett who like me
Standest alone without society
Thy far blue eye
A remnant of the sky”
Walk to Wachusett—Thoreau
First became aware of Wachusett Mountain that highest point in Central Massachusetts while in high school on a trip to UMASS Amherst to visit a friend bus stop in Fitchburg with the view in the distance always a pause to wonder.
Later, way much later I moved with my newlywed one to the affordable housing and greener pastures of a town not at all unlike the one where I came of age only smaller but in most every other way similar but for that outrageous Wachusett Dam holding back greater Boston’s water supply with that view of Wachusett Mountain from every nook and cranny over your shoulder and off in the distance every where you turn in Clinton MA.
Moved to Clinton from Hopkinton MA on Boston Marathon day 1987 packed up the car for a first run up the highway and stopped in Clinton at the Wachusett liquor store on Main street for beer and a large bag of Wachusett potato chips.
Brought the boom box I had received as a gift on one of my athletic sojourns in the house first set her up in the kitchen and put on BZ radio marathon coverage turned up loud echoing around the empty house and kitchen.
I had a little pang wishing I were running but just as quickly I let it go, “nah, I/m done with Boston.”
33 years and counting becoming a native to this place grew up earliest days in the shadow of gas tanks to the long shadow of a Mountain of sorts for us in its aura.
I first became aware of Thoreau essay “A Walk to Wachusett” while browsing around in the antiquarian bookseller Brattle Books on West Street in Boston a place that I haunted on many a lunch hour while working in downtown Boston for oh so many years.
And like most things Thoreauvian there has been a mountain of words written about the essay the route that Henry took with his companion Richard Fuller brother of Margaret editor of the Dial and I have read most of them.
Henry passed very close by what became Clinton on his excursion and gave a lecture here in 1851 and so I feel surrounded each day by many of the same sights of Wachusett on the horizon that they experienced.
Looking out can be far out looking in another thing but to the horizon a comfort stability.
Rarely hike in the Whites in early spring challenging mud ice slush somewhat but never blah because of the infinite glacially carved time so comforting to see and know it always continues despite all this or that.
Maintaining touch with that elemental part somehow dilatory the inevitable we all face but rounding life into that circle so natural and comforting to contemplate.
“I’m only writing this because we are all going to die” Kerouac
It is more than okay to look inward necessary so don’t lose touch of self and become auto matron.