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It may seem as though I’m on the road or on the river quite a bit, but actually I spend far more time on the “back forty,” on my small acreage with its paths behind the house. I often like the homebound feeling that has no compass for the hills beyond; I like to do nothing every now and then, my view encompassed by a stroll perhaps, my thoughts wrapped in a pensive, meditative mood, with nowhere to go but here.
A ramble takes no account of work, school or the mall. There’s no fishing here, no hunting, shopping, or warring with the elements. Tonight I’ll listen to the barred owl’s eight-note calling, to the blue jay’s squawk, and the catbird’s mew. I’ll check out the latest blossoms to appear– the goldenrod, the aster and the turtlehead. I’ll walk the paths that lead through blackberry vines, poplar trees, autumn olives, and hundreds of Norway spruce, red pine, and wild apple trees. I won’t go anywhere, really.
I’ll stop to contemplate the grave of our old dog, Brook, and peer upward at the aging barn. That building has seen the happier days of agriculture well before my time, as well as the years of land abuse that I can only speculate about. A part of this place is growing wild. A part of it has been an anchorhold. I’ll walk on it, simultaneously apart from and a part of its earthen character, going nowhere on its circular paths, and pleased for your company.