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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Riding Around New England Part Four

        "Reno and me, we just laughed, and agreed. It don't matter which way you go. When you're calling the highway your home. Every old town's just your past burning down. It don't matter which way you go." Some days you just need to call the highway home. Burn down those towns and cross all those bridges. Some times you just need to get up in the dark and get out home. Watch the night fade. See dawn come stealing over the horizon. See the world begin to awaken. Tiny lights coming on in the houses. Smoke from the chimneys spiraling into the sky. A thermos of coffee between you. The easy roll of the wheels beneath you. All those towns with names like New London, and Dover ,Portsmouth, New Salem, Bristol, Manchester, Leicester, Westminster. New England towns with old England names. Oh, but the rivers we cross! They have names like Piscataqua, Androscoggin, Kennebec, Contoocook. Wonderful names from the People who were here before.
        The snow lies smooth and untrodden across the fields. It piles up in the corners of the stone walls. But I know, that when spring comes, those corners will be purple. Purple with violets, nodding in the sunshine. The rivers run black and fierce. rushing over rocks, piling up slabs of ice, huge slabs thrown by angry Gods. The forests are dappled with sun shine and shadow, criss- crossed by the tracks of the deer. The lakes are frozen over dotted with islands and fishing houses. A flock of tiny snow birds rises up, in unison, from the snowy corn stubble. They wheel and turn, still as one , and land again. You can hardly find them, so camouflaged they are with the land around  them.


        Long dead trees filled with wood pecker choppings. Huge old homestead trees, bare and gnarly , majestic even now, a lone swing swaying, empty in the winter wind. Two hundred year old houses standing firm against the hills. Granite posts still at the doorways, stone walls still marking the pastures. Horses whispering to each other near the old barns. Sugar houses still empty and waiting for spring. Abandoned buildings with intricate wood work. Once they were loved. Rusty old trucks and tractors.
      Down in the cusp, rimmed by the hills. Ancient old hills. Brooding over years gone by. Standing in the cold bright sunshine, gazing across Golden Pond. The silence rests easy on us. We take the back roads. New England back roads are rough this time of year. So we drive slow, and see all the things that are in this home on the road. Horses standing head to tail. Geese on the very edge of the ice. They look at the narrow strip of open water. I wonder, are they saying "what were we thinking?" in geese talk? Antique shops. Restaurants. White steepled churches. Farms. Schools. Black crows, cruising along above us, one for sadness, two for mirth..

          "Reno and me. We talked it all out. And there's one thing we don't understand. What's the point of a race, if you stay in on place, thinking its somewhere to go?"