Welcome to Balanced Rocks: Pictures and Stories

Beginning March 16,2010, I began a journey of balancing rocks. I hold to the practice of setting to balance at least five sculptures a day, sometimes, many more. Of these I take lots of pictures and videos. While conducting this adventure, I have been introduced to an incredible unfolding story. Additionally, I discovered this phenomenon is manifesting worldwide. As I post pictures and stories, I found many others similarly engaged and sharing their works. Additionally, as folks come upon me performing my work, many want to find out how this is done and try themselves. This blog shares this work in both pictures and stories. Enjoy


A seeming impossibility becomes possible

Rock Balancing: The Beginning

On a fine summer day, sometime in August, 2009, I was visiting family in Toronto. Like most folks spending summer in a large city, we used up as much time as we could finding outdoor events that would cool us. One afternoon, we headed to the Beaches section of East Toronto. After spending some time playing in a large sandbox in the shade with my grandkids and some of their newfound companions, we headed to the Boardwalk that extends from Balmy Beach to Kew Gardens. Ella accompanied me, Liam took off with his mom, Natalie. They ventured down the boardwalk, Ella and I headed onto the sand toward the water’s edge. Halfway there we encountered what looked like a small size Stonehenge.

About a dozen sculptures were gathered together in a rough circle. Each was a stack of two or three rocks balanced one on another. The tallest one was slightly taller than Ella, who was small average height for a five year older. All were in the neighborhood of three feet and four feet tall. What immediately jumped out was the precarious nature of the balancing. Most points of contact were miraculously slight. Most seemed to be standing on a point. Two more folks were witnessing this amazing display. We imagined that there must be small metal rods embedded at the point of contact, or else some kind of glue was used. Each of us peered from close low angles to detect what could account for this mystical display. Ella, not being so cautious, toppled one structure over. Luckily, it did not land on her.

I hurried over and picked up the fallen rock. I saw no evidence of a rod or glue. It indeed had been balanced on its pedestal. I lifted it up and tried to place it back where I reckoned it had been balanced. I cautioned Ella, to be careful and not upset any more sculptures and went about the task of finding balance. I was not successful and struggled immensely but did not find the magic spot where stability could be achieved. After a lengthy effort, an attractive Asian woman about my age approached and gently nudged me aside offering to demonstrate her work. She pointed to the spot she would set the stone upon. She called it by a foreign name. To me it looked like a slight dimple.

Placing the small end of the upper rock into that hollow, she deftly and quickly moved it around, slightly twisting and cajoling it into position. The sight of this slender woman with longish graying hair performing an intricate dance with a rock slightly larger than her head emanated calmness. It seemed only the ends of her fingers were used to achieve these small movements. Apparently, equilibrium was close. Shortly she was done and withdrew her palms which naturally assumed an open prayer posture. The rock I had grappled with was majestically resting in its previous stable state. She next went over and reset two other structures, I had not noticed were also amiss. I just took them to be part of the rubble strewn about the beach. Now all the display was standing and providing a small sense of order in our chaotic world.

I never got this woman’s name, but heard her story. She had set this display up for the purpose of taking pictures, one of which she hoped to use for a cover of a book she was publishing. Unfortunately not getting her name makes it difficult to find her book. But I carried away with me the sight of her presentation and the incredible feeling I had witnessed an amazing ethereal event. I also felt an urge to explore this practice.

Rock in the Snow

Rock in the Snow
January in Toronto

Monday, March 31, 2008

God is my pilot, August 1966: Florence, SC

Perhaps the most fear-provoking aspect of relying on the benevolence of others for a ride, is when your pilot is heavily under the influence of alcohol. The first time this occurred, I was returning to New York from a summer semester at a Community College in Florida. There was no Interstate going up the east coast, so I was following the course of Highway 301. This was primarily a two lane road that began in Sarasota and would deposit me at the Delaware Bay Bridge leading to the New Jersey Turnpike. At around 3 AM, I was on the corner in Florence where 301 took a right and proceeded to the North Carolina border. Traffic was sparse and I felt grateful when a vehicle appeared, then stopped for me. Not too far into the ride, my gratitude turned to fear. My driver was an angry drunk.
As soon ,as we headed into the dark stretch of highway leading through the swampland before the border, he waved an almost empty bottle of whisky at me as a way of offering a drink. I declined. This launched a tirade about my lack of manners refusing a drink with him. Somehow, I managed to defuse this argument and we proceeded on. He next turned his anger at Chevrolet Automobiles for their building him a bad transmission, an example of which was on his back seat. He was returning from a stock car race, during which this example blew. He proceeded into the gloom as if he was still at the race. We soon were traveling well over 100 MPH. Luckily, except for a sharp left at Pee Dee, the road consisted of straightaways. Our ride was constantly punctuated by his stream of abuse directed at all the reasons he did not win his latest race. I was hoping we would succeed in this one.
A couple of times I would notice in the distance a set of tail lights most likely traveling at a much slower speed. Intuitively, I knew not to interrupt his focus on anger to point out this hazard. Here, I would ask whatever Influence he was under to maintain control and acknowledge none of it was under my control. It was terrifying to note I was only along for the ride as a witness. At close to the last instant, he would notice the other car, jam his brakes, curse at the other driver, veer into the passing lane, and proceed back to racing speed. I was unsure how I would exit from this ride. Eventually the lights of South of the Border appeared. This was a huge tourist establishment on the North-South Carolina border. Their road signs which seemed to stretch from Georgia to Virginia were characterized by a sombrero topped figure that repeated, “Pedro sez.” We slowed down, entered their parking lot, and my host announced, “Pedro sez, I got to take a leak.” I gathered my pack, thanked him for the ride, and wished him luck in his future races. We shook hands and parted. Whew.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Taking the back roads, May 1975: Fargo, GA

Even travel by hitching rides is speedy using the Interstate Highway system. Earlier this year, by staying on the road, I was able to get from Cleveland, OH to Gainesville, FL in little more than nineteen hours. Returning north in late spring, I wanted to test the old highway system. It was my purpose to travel slowly and savor the pace of folks who were not in a great hurry to traverse vast distances. Heading north from Gainesville on Highway 441, it took a day to reach High Springs a distance of about seventeen miles. Some folks brought me to the springs that make up the source of the Itchetucknee River, one of the headwaters of the Old Suwannee. I toted enough groceries to last for a day camping and another day of travel when I made it north of Lake City. The following day I managed to cross the Georgia border. By that evening my food was exhausted and I was stuck out on a stretch of highway far away from any apparent provisions saving those growing in the fields surrounding me. But immature peanuts and cotton did not seem edible regardless.
There also was not much traffic. Not having much choice, I continued walking, with no idea of how far it would be until a town or a country store would show up. I considered doubling back, but that would be quite a distance also and scant traffic was headed that way either. Suddenly a car came up at a very high rate of speed. I whirled around and flashed my thumb. A car load of teens whizzed past. They did not stop, but shouted loudly and unintelligibly, as they rocketed by. Their vehicle did not have a license plate and by its looks was probably not road safe. Also, something flew away from the car and landed in the road several hundred feet further up the road. I plodded on, pondering whether it was probably fortunate, I had not received a ride. When I got to the item that flew from their car, it turned out to be an intact package of fried pork rinds. After retrieving it, I thought, “ What a strange supper.” But then I noticed behind me was an abandoned farmhouse with an open wraparound covered porch. Its front yard was overgrown with ripe plump blackberries. Now it seemed an adequate feasting and resting place were in front of me. Later I reclined on that porch both sated and grateful.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

At the edge, January 1975: Chattanooga, TN

I arrived in late afternoon. The weather seemed mild, especially considering two days previously I had been as far north as Niagara Falls. Having time, I decided to travel west into the city and return later to find a place to sleep. Quickly a car with a couple of youngsters stopped for me. They were only going into town to score some pot and would be returning to this same spot later. When I disclosed my plan to go into town and see the sights and then return later, they offered to let me ride with them and they would drop me back where they picked me up. It seemed like good fortune was smiling upon me in addition to an offer to share a taste of marijuana, to which I was not adverse. We had to pass through a tunnel to arrive in Chattanooga.
The tunnel offered a slight upward tilt to those traveling toward town. The view at the end of the tunnel was only of the sky. It almost seemed we were traveling down the length of a huge gun barrel heading to be shot into space. As we approached the end of the tunnel the view of the now darkening sky increased with no sign of ground. Only at the instant of emergence from the tunnel did the roadway slant downward exposing a magnificent view of a lit up metropolis. We proceeded through the city to Rossville GA, so that my hosts could conduct their transaction. They were excellent tour guides as they pointed out sites of interest, provided stories of local lore, and stopped for a quick meal at a fast food eatery. By the time they returned me to the highway, I felt ready for a good night’s rest.
Exchanging wishes for a Good Night, my benefactors deposited me on the eastern slope of the mountain we passed through earlier. Not too far up was the crest and being dark it looked like a good place to spread out my ground cloth. It was quite dark, but luckily the path was over grass and there were no obstacles to stumble upon. At the peak a commanding view of the city presented it self and I decided to stop there and set up for the night. Before going to sleep I marveled at the wonderful view and mild weather. It seemed a Blessing. Only in the morning was I able to see how blessed it was. As I arose, in the light I could see that only a few steps further, would have taken me over a brink that led at least a hundred feet down to railroad tracks. The previous night in the dark, I had no idea I was that close to an abrupt edge. I began this day with thanks to whatever impulse governed my stopping when I did.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Mardi Gras 1975: New Orleans, LA

Mardi Gras 1975: New Orleans, LA
It was the beginning of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. While it was only Friday morning of the week before Fat Tuesday, parades were scheduled to begin that evening. Preparations were underway. Truckloads of barricades were delivered and set up along the parades routes. It appeared the workers were mostly short term prisoners who were pressed into unchanged gangs. As it turned out, many of the homeless element were taken off the street, provided meals, quarters, and used in service to the festivities. Apparently most of their offenses were misdemeanors that were given sentences to be served concurrent with festival. Many of the folks I met when I first got into town, I later saw on a daily basis cleaning up the debris from previous night’s celebrations.
On one of the streets at the edge of the French Quarter, in what looked like an abandoned warehouse, several folks were steadying a stepladder. One guy was on the ladder fiddling with a light fixture. Pops and sparks emitted, accompanied by shouts of, “What’s that? Be careful.” I approached and offered to help. Having knowledge of electricity I quickly installed a few fixtures and they now had lights in their spaciousness. They were setting up a flophouse for the expected hoards who may not have resources to stay in regular hostelries. This location planned to charge a buck a night for a mattress and provide a rice and bean breakfast. For my lending a hand, I was awarded space and food for the duration. Having secured victuals and lodging, I was free to partake in the revelry.
Another sizeable contingent was squatting on unflooded areas beneath the wharfs along the banks of the Mississippi River. Their only fee was having to avoid the Navy Shore Patrol. One evening, I accompanied a couple of this band to where they received meals. They brought me to a Christian Rescue Mission on the other side of the Quarter. A group of well dressed, clean cut young people were stationed near the doorway interviewing the folks waiting entrance to a meal. One pleasant young man asked, “Do you accept Jesus as your Personal Savior?” Without an answer to this question I would not be admitted to the meal. Several couples nearby were engaged in some sort of ritual that supposedly instilled Jesus into the recipient’s heart and granted admission to the dining room. My response was, “If you are Christian, the only requirement to provide me with food , is that I am hungry. Putting any condition beyond that seems contrary to Jesus’ Message.” My host and I held lengthy discourse on the subject of Jesus' Teaching. Since I was not desperately hungry, I did not relent from my stance. After consultation with an elder, my host gave in and escorted me to the dining room. As luck would have it, dinner was finished and I could only get a cup of tea, but offered to help clean up. They declined my offer and I left to go watch that evening’s Krewe parade by throwing out coins and beads.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wet to the bones, September 1975: Nelson BC

Wet to the bones, September 1975: Nelson, BC
By the beginning of September the rainy season seemed well entrenched. Parts of British Columbia east of the Okanogan Valley while not suffering drenching rains were cloud covered most of the time and if not actually raining there was constant moisture in the air. Having spent most of the past six weeks staying in a tent, myself and belongings were thoroughly damp. I was feeling the need to move south to a dry climate. The picking season was dwindling. This meant that any remaining work would likely not be lucrative and because of the weather carried out in adverse conditions. The small wages I made during good harvesting times was spent. So, I headed off with empty pockets, knowing I would be observing a fast of sorts until I got to warm dry weather. If I had any wishes, they would be for a can of chewing tobacco to keep gnawing hunger at bay and dry socks to provide physical comfort.
My first ride was provided by an elderly man, who expressed gratitude when I agreed to give him a hand. His story was that after a lifetime working on his own farm in Saskatchewan, he tired of driving up and down the same section planting identical crops each year. Selling his farm, he used the proceeds to move to BC and purchase an old mine. With it came large piles of tailings. These he contracted with the provincial government to crush and provide them with gravel. He had purchased a large mobile conveyer. He was going to retrieve it and needed help raising it up and hooking it to his pickup. This is the hand I would provide. On the way, he explained that he needed two workers to man the machinery at the mine over the coming winter. He would provide food and lodging for them over the winter and it was likely they would be trapped up in the mountains until the following spring. The bonus is that upon the advent of spring a sizeable pay would be due. It was an intriguing offer that I mulled over while about our task.
We were successful loading up his equipment and returned to the highway that led to the US border. I decided to follow my inclination to head south. He offered me twenty dollars for my help. I thanked him and after we parted I went into a dry goods store and purchased a tin of tobacco and pair of socks. I set off to seek warm dry weather. Often that winter I thought about the missed opportunity, because I had not taken his contact information to follow up on his offer, should my mind change.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Finding a vision, March 1975: Grassy Key, FL

Upon leaving Ontario in January during one of the coldest winters in recent history I pictured a scene quite far away. I envisioned walking beneath a palm tree, fully unclothed, headed into calm blue waters. By the beginning of March, I managed to get as far as the East Coast of Florida and shed most of my winter clothing. On the way south, many travelers heading north, lacking warm clothing, received my hat, gloves, scarves, sweaters, and a fine down filled windbreaker. In Palm Beach, a telephone lineman, not sporting good working footwear accepted my relatively new steel toed boots. I had picked up a pair of sandals and lugging heavy safety wear suited for winter or work was cumbersome. I was next given a ride by an unemployed factory worker from Indiana.
Steve, like many of the ranks of workers laid off during the recession of the mid 1970‘s, had come south to escape sustained unemployment during a harsh winter. The thinking was that if one was not working, it was a better choice to be unemployed and homeless on a beach. He was one of many, still having a vehicle, who roamed the south looking for a place to park and let the period of economic downturn work itself out. Like me, he had no idea of the whereabouts of our destination, but preferred company. We proceeded to head south on US A1A. Shortly we were crossing Miami where the highway is named Biscayne Blvd. We passed a young couple standing on the side with their thumbs extended. Without a thought, I blurted, “ That’s my brother.; Let’s stop for them.” Steve pulled over and as we waited for the couple to get to us asked, “Is he really your brother?” Sheepishly, I grinned and answered, “We don’t have the same mother.” Nevertheless, we waited until the couple got aboard. We proceeded south.
The young man informed us they were heading to a beach in the Keys where it was permissible to park, camp and even stay in your car without a hassle. He said many folks were living there in a semblance of old tent cities. We decided we would all head there. Our guide showed us to a perfect spot that because it was unmarked we would never have found on our own. As we pulled off the road and followed a narrow bumpy dirt lane down to a length of sand that was littered with abandoned vehicles, trash, and many makeshift tents, I began to recognize the setting of my forethought. We parked under a palm that looked like the one I had seen when departing several weeks earlier. Getting out of the car, I took off my shirt, dropped my pants, and walked naked into the water.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Last vestige of Winter, May 1974: Matane, PQ

It is at least a three day journey driving leisurely from Nova Scotia back to Toronto. Our week on the coast of Nova Scotia was mild, bright, and although the water was too chilly for swimming, the shore provided fantastic settings for beachcombing and hikes. Accompanying me was my daughter Natalie, and Liz a friend. We spent our nights in a tent. On our return, the first night was spent on a beach facing the Northumberland Strait between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. It was uncomfortably breezy during the night and we huddled for warmth but still slept fitfully. In morning light we observed a light snow cover over the whole landscape. We packed up and figured that as long as we did not camp on a beach we would make it home without more restless nights. We pressed on toward the Gaspe Peninsula.
On our map we noticed a large provincial park offered a road through it down to the shore of the Saint Laurence River. We decided that would be a good place to camp and being in a forest we could likely build a fire if needed. At the entrance to the park was a caretaker’s cabin. He spoke French and halting English, we did just the opposite. We gathered that the park was not yet open for the season, but he offered us a room in his cabin. We spent a warm pleasant evening enjoying his hospitality. He got pleasure from my daughter’s company, as at three years of age her willingness to speak French far surpassed ours. He spent hours playing with her and giving her elementary language lessons. We all slept well and awoke rested hoping to press on with our plan to drive through the park. After helping our host clean up the breakfast utensils, I brought out our map and pointed out our hoped for destination. Our host kept repeating lengthy phrases, the only word of which I could understand was “ferme.” I persisted questioning, even though I knew the park was closed could we just drive through it, si vous plais? He relented and opened the gate and sent us off.
The small dirt road ascended toward large peaks covered with evergreen forests. As we pressed on little snow covering appeared. With the increase in altitude the depth of snow augmented, It was evident that the road we traveled had been plowed throughout the winter. The banks on either side became higher than our vehicle. Suddenly, I noticed far ahead a figure walking in the chute that was our roadway. Drawing nearer it turned out to be a magnificent bull elk. When we got too close he would break into a trot. I would stop and as soon as he broke into a slower gait, I would drive forward. As I approached close again, the same pattern would repeat. With each successive try, we would manage to get closer before he needed to get space. Finally, instead of running, the splendid beast stopped and turned his head. I immediately halted and we spent a few moments communing. Eventually he resumed his saunter, until crossing a bridge he leapt over the side and landed on a creek bed several meters below. We paused and looked at one another. Liz offered, “ It was great to get to see you so close. Please take care next fall when hunters come into your woods.”
Just a bit up the road was a lodge. The plowing stopped there and I understood our host’s words that the road was “ferme.” As we proceeded to turn around and recrossed the bridge where we had bade goodbye to our elk host, we noticed the small stream trickling over a boulder. This was the headwaters of the Matane River. As we retraced our path down the mountain, we were aware that our road paralleled the growing river. We were treated to an astonishing vista as we followed the course of the river to where it emptied into the Saint Laurence. At its mouth, the river was a couple hundred meters across. By virtue of luck and bad communication we were blessed to be able to travel along this river from its source to its ending.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Monday 1965: New York City, NY

In the spring of 1965 two young men left Florida after their first year at University of South Florida and hitched rides to New York City to seek adventure. I was propelled by the prospect of a romantic relationship. Patty Ann whom I had met the previous summer still appeared enticing and I wanted to see her. Both I and my traveling companion, Gaines, were likely lured by the lower drinking age in NY. Florida required us to behave illegally in order to obtain alcohol refreshment. By Easter Sunday, we were able to thumb rides all the way to Baltimore when our ride catching ability seemed to dry up. We caught city buses into downtown, boarded a Greyhound bound for NYC and arrived at Port Authority Bus Terminal around midnight. Not knowing where to go at this early hour on Easter Monday morning, we asked the agent for directions to the YMCA.

We were pointed to the subway and dragging our suitcases descended down a series of corridors to the platform. Two young men obviously fresh from the country and towing luggage with them were as likely a bizarre site to the regular subway inhabitants in these early morning hours as they were to us. Approaching us on the other side of the corridor were three black men of our age who all sported sunglasses. As if wearing sunglasses beyond midnight in a darkened tunnel was not enough, one of them reached up, lowered his glasses and gave us a broad grin and a wink. Immediately I thought, “What have I gotten into now?” With no further hitch we boarded a train for a short ride across midtown Manhattan. At the Y were able to secure small separate rooms for the night. Getting to my room, I received the next surprise of my looming venture. Upon opening my Samsonite luggage, I discovered there had been a mix-up and my bag had been switched with one containing only an elderly woman’s lingerie. Again the thought repeated. “What have I gotten myself into now?”

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A new Journey Begins: Ithaca, NY

Yesterday, I went on a fishing expedition of sorts. I was not using the normal fishing gear nor was I hoping to catch aquatic creatures. I was casting about testing this area for the likelihood of good openings that would nurture my goal of setting forth my stories on paper or, at least, the virtual version of paper. I believe I have landed in an area that not only holds great spots for landing fish but is rich in prospects to support my aspirations. One shop owner described this area as, “There are not high paying jobs around here, but there is also little unemployment. Everyone works.” He additionally expressed incredulity that I would choose to leave an area noted for its ability to provide its workers with large monetary rewards. Yes, I admit that my years on Martha’s Vineyard were rewarding financially but provided me with little time to pursue my deeper yearnings. Chris, the storekeeper, also gleaned from my story, a catalogue of my skills and, unbidden, offered several suggestions of places I could perhaps find work that may well support my setting up a base at this time.

Another impressive indication that this locale contains elements that align with my stated goals are many announcements calling for writing talents. Some are ads looking specifically for writers, others are seeking individuals to teach or tutor writing, and, all the while, more opportunities present that require writing as one of the needed skills. It almost seems I have cast my line into very fertile fishing grounds and could rather quickly overfill my small boat and then have to face the dilemma of safely getting back to shore without losing my catch. So today, I will start by seeking out and attending an Easter Sunrise Service and then practice an old fisherman’s trick, spending considerable time just observing the waters before deciding where to cast.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Home at last? : Ithaca, NY

Before I began this excursion, I moved all my belongings that would not accompany me into storage just outside Ithaca. It took several trips last fall and winter to move my belongings from the Philadelphia area to there. At that time my PT-RV was being pressed into service as a PT-Moving Van. I have no explanation or reason why I choose to move all my possessions to an area where I never lived and until last summer had never even visited. When questioned, my response is “It’s a hunch or intuition.” When explaining my journey, I would often add, “For some reason all of my stuff is in storage near Ithaca.” Part of me knew I would some day return and do business with it. Yesterday morning I pulled into Ithaca for the first time since my current venturing commenced..
It was before 7:00 AM when I pulled into a parking space on one of the downtown streets. I got out of my car to see if I was blocking a driveway to the house I was standing in front of. The house was evidently abandoned and neglected. As I was peering around a neighbor standing on his porch asked, “Do you want to buy it?” I offered, “That’s an interesting question.” We proceeded to have a lengthy discussion about the benefits of living in Ithaca. He was quite welcoming, also my age and a contemporary professionally. He changed career focus and now by and large engages academically as adjunct faculty. This conservation sparked me quite a bit with ideas of how I may similarly fit into this community. Besides having an inclination to engage in restoration projects, I regard myself as a counselor, teacher and semi retired odd job specialist.
I spent most of yesterday, pondering whether I should curtail my sojourning and test the rooting possibilities of this area. This generates quite a bit of fodder for the mental grist mill. Today’s project will be to decide how to go about making the decision of which direction to proceed on my quest to find home. Could this be it, a temporary diversion, or just a pipedream? Stay tuned.

Friday, March 21, 2008

What a wind!: Interlaken, NY

Ten days in a row, I have been blessed with the opportunity to spend the night in a bed indoors. As it turned out, I spent last night in my PT-RV on the shore of Lake Geneva. As the end of the day was descending I parked on its shore in three different locations. First to the west of Geneva, then at the head of the lake near downtown. As the sun was lowering and a quite full looking moon was rising on the opposite horizon, a sizeable flock of seagulls was finishing their day’s work over the lake. As they gathered and hunkered down in a field next to me, the wind picked up and small snowflakes likewise got together and lighted on the ground. I decided the shores of this lake would provide a nice setting to awaken in the morning. I went into town to have a meal before deciding upon a safe parking place.
The local diner was filled with high school aged kids. It was apparent they we celebrating their team’s victory at a basketball tournament. There was quite a lot of mischievousness going on and several times I would catch the eye of one of the youngsters as they were engaging in juvenile flirtatious behavior. One young girl threw a spitball at a young man in another booth. He looked at me with a knowing grin and I gave him a thumbs up and nod indicating, “She likes you.” He grinned back and eventually the girl’s father came and retrieved her. She waved, “Good Bye,” and sashayed away with her dad. I left the diner and went looking for a place to park for the night.
As I was heading east out of town, a State Park appeared skirting the north eastern shore of Lake Geneva. I entered and noticing several cars parked along the edge of the lake, joined in line , crawled into my sleeping bag and retired for the night. The night proceeded peacefully but accompanied by an increasingly severe wind. I was able to rest but several times was awakened because the car was buffeted by gusts and would lurch. Quickly I moved the car forward out from under a large tree whose limbs could suddenly let loose given the gale there were facing. Getting back into my bag, I slept peacefully until morning when calm winds and a gentle snow covering greeted me to New York.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Heading back to the States: Toronto, ON, Canada

I am leaving first thing this morning and heading back to The States. When outside of the United States, that seems to be one of the most common designations given to that Independent former British Colony. I believe it was the first colony to achieve free status from the first truely global empire. Canada achieved its independent status nearly 100 years afterward. Since then many others have followed suit. I will spare the discourse about the revitalized coalition of former colonies. Like when I was living in Canada 35 years ago, it continues to appear to be a popular activity to take their American cousins to task for engaging in Imperial Conquest. Again a brief stay in Canada exposes much criticism and attack on American Hegemony.
Personally, I have my own family matters to contend with. These seem more important than global catastrophe. Staying with my family for a short time brings to bear some of the same forces that appear in the global struggle. The youngsters want more power with little experience in how to handle it. Failing economy seems to bring out the worst in all members. It seems that no one wants to hear that they cannot have what they want. The members with the least power become the most vocal and outrageous in their actions to try and obtain what they claim is rightfully theirs. The adults seem hard pressed to handle issues in fair handed ways that do not involve overreaction to the youngster's rebellions. I take responsibility for acting just like all the others and succumbing at times to my baser feelings and instincts. This leads me to head to practice rare human dealings, namely, Apology and Forgiveness. I am grateful none of my family members has taken up the task of providing us with arms and training us in their use. So far, we all survive and grow.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Hobo getting back from vacation-- almost: Toronto, ON, Canada

I imagine that when one returns from vacation, one returns home. A friend defined for me the term Hobo as meaning Homeward Bound. It is apt that I identify as a hobo since the question that remains is: Where is my home? As best as I can determine, home is more a state of mind than place. Or perhaps it is a setting that engenders that clear settled emotional state. Geographical elements that provide those feelings for me include rivers, lakes, mountains or hills, rural background, and small towns. It is in these settings that I have a feeling of physical well being and a thriving spirituality and I perceive home is drawing close. Being back from vacation means I am reengaging in the process of seeking that place of grounding.
It seems there is less effort in determining where is not home. So far, Coastal New England does not fit as home. For that matter, I have not found home any where on the Eastern Seaboard coast. But on the other hand it feels close as I move off the coast and head inland. Before I went south for vacation, I was feeling a leading to confine my search, at least temporarily, to the ancient river, lake, canal transportation highway. Without a boat, I would have to travel along side in my automobile. For this summer my focus will embrace the area that includes the upper PA and NY river valleys to the Great Lakes region. Yesterday, upon our return to Buffalo we set out looking for a place to eat. We did not want to enjoy the standard commercial faire and quickly happened upon a small family establishment in Williamsville, NY. The owner was welcoming and agreed to prepare specially for the kids an off menu item--grilled cheese sandwiches. The whole of our meal provided a homey atmosphere. And incidentally, Williamsville is close by the Erie Canal and entrance to Lake Erie. After a brief sojourn to Toronto to deliver my daughter and grandkids home, I plan on returning to the Buffalo region to renew my own search for mother country and fatherland.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Last day of vacation: Ocala, FL

Every vacation comes to an end. This one ends today. Last evening I got to have a closing conversation with my hostess, my sister, Karen. She may also me my most avid reader and certainly my best critic. Her feedback is always most welcome and even more so her compliments. We discussed how my mood reflects in my writing. That is, a bad mood can engender bad writing. In particular we discussed my mood and the entry I made on the day when I claimed I was filled with doubt and fear. In her opinion, not only was my mood gloomy that day but my journal entry likewise was suffering. Not having her vantage point to view my article I nonetheless agreed since I remember feeling that I did not even want to write that day. I only wrote as a sense of duty to my Journaling. I can understand why in comic strips the character makes the strong statement, " G%V’S*&B[A+." That was pretty much how felt that day.

So, Dear Reader, if I ever seem a bit off center and my writing is not as clear, fresh, or refreshing, bear with me. Some days are like that and the best way out is to have human contact and process through those darker feelings. I guess I was not expecting to have all this arise while on my vacation. But then, it rains in Florida also. Shortly I will be getting my daughter and two grandkids up and begin out long day of journey. I promise that should need it, I will break off and process should any dark moment threaten to get the best of me. See you back home.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Getting all the way down and back up: Gainesville, FL

Yesterday we traveled 55 miles north to visit friends in Gainesville. It was quite entertaining for the kids. First off they got to examine close up native flora and fauna. Mike lent them a magnifying glass and they not only got to look at bones, shells, hives, skins and husks, but Liam got brave enough to pick up live things. He was quite taken by the small creatures that inhabit Florida. All manner of insects and reptiles feel under his gaze. He handled all these carefully and returned them back to their respective places after giving each a through exam and a bit of a talk. Next we took a small excursion to a local attraction that further enlivened the kids and gave the adults a workout.

On the North side of Gainesville is located a significant sinkhole. It is so prominent that it is given special attention by being designated a state park– Devils’s Millhopper. In the 1930's, the CCC constructed a set of railroad tie steps down the steep embankment to the bottom. Those are no longer around, but some remnants poke out of the sides here and there. There is now a boardwalk and wooden stairs descending all the way down. Liam and Ella raced down the steps ahead of the adults. Since there were adequate railings provided we let them go ahead to the bottom. The return was by the same route we descended, so we were not concerned about them getting lost. The three adults walked at a more leisurely pace and reminisced descending this location over 30 years ago without advantage of stairs. After observing the bottom where several small steams disappeared into Florida’s underground river we climbed up the stairs. Again the kids wanted to rush ahead. However, we had to do a better job of keeping up since unlike the bottom where they would be confined, the top of the stairs opened into the whole world via the parking lot. As it turned out I got my brisk hike for the day.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Watching dozers, big trucks, robots and WMD: Ocala, FL

Yesterday we took the kids, ranging in age from 4 to 62 to Dozer Day. This is fund raiser for Children’s Services held annually in Ocala, FL. On the site of a large ranch, a horse park in reality, all matter of big construction equipment is let loose to dig up the earth. The largest of dump trucks are used to give "Hay Rides" over a series of rises and dips constructed just for this event. Besides giving youngsters the chance to climb aboard any of the monstrous vehicles, they were also afforded the chance to sit in the cab and help an operator flick the controls and move massive quantities of earth around. While parents waited in long lines to get their kids seated in their machine of choice, the kids roamed around climbing aboard school buses, military vehicles, and huge buckets attached to front end loaders or excavators. This kept parents using both eyes. One set of eyes on the line, while the other followed their kid around the stationary displays. Couples had a distinct advantage has they had four eyes to engage in this duty. Kids with a single overseer needed to be supervised by the whole lot. Many times adults were intervening on kids that were clearly not their own.
For a while I observed a couple of youngsters pretending to operate an unusable machine gun mounted on a jeep type military vehicle. They were having great fun blasting away at the crowds. As I edged neared to them, one looked at me and asked in a serious tone, "Do you think there are any rounds around for this gun?" Giving them a smile, I offered this question, "Do you think they would leave rounds around for you guys to shoot? Hello?" The kid at the trigger, grinned nodded his head, and agreed, "Nope." They continued to shoot away and I left asking, "Be careful and don’t shoot me." I believe I heard both in unison respond, "OK, We will." I survived.. Another large exhibit displayed the Marion County Emergency Response equipment. There seemed to be loads of military style goods to respond to military style threats. Included was a WMD Bomb Response unit. For the life of me, I cannot think of any group that would target this area of Florida for a WMD attack, as long as they keep rounds from their kids.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Drawing a blank: Ocala, FL

I don’t know. I’m sitting here and for more than several minutes nothing springs out. So I guess in school this would be called a process paper. Let’s see, I’ve got tons of doubt and insecurity. I suppose that could cause a block. First off, A writing project I arose early yesterday to complete and send off had trouble landing. It seems the attachment device on my email feature was not seamlessly compatible with the program receiving it. Then several phone calls made to straighten it out ended up being unanswered and messages were left. It took quite a bit of phone tag to get the attachments downloaded, opened and printed. Finally in the evening I received an email stating that it was successful. So half my time all day long was spent chasing down a project that for a good part seemed to be caught somewhere between two people who were experiencing problems communicating with one another.
Next there was a light fixture I was replacing in my sister’s kitchen. A trip to the store resulted in not being able to get a comparable fixture. So instead, I got a similar one and stripped the part off it I needed to repair the one that needed replacing. I was hoping that this would be a simple straightforward job, but instead it turned out to look like a rejected film script for some obscure survival type televison pilot. All the while I was wrestling with the light fixture there was a nagging in the back of my mind concerning the files that apparently were somewhere off in cyberspace. So maybe it was a case of trying to accomplish too much and none of it was going smoothly. Today, I will take it easy and hang out with my grandkids and work for them.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Visiting the old Florida: Ocala to Brooksville, FL and back

Yesterday while I was repairing a cane chair for my sister, I needed some more supplies. With the assistance of the Internet I was able to locate a supplier in Brooksville, FL. They were not available by phone and since they were only 35 miles away, I decided to drive over. So I got into the van with my sister Karen and grand daughter Ella, and headed over two lane highways in search of cane. Some of the journey proceeded on Highway 41 made famous by the Allman Brothers and a road I traveled on many times as a youngster as our family traveled between Michigan and Florida. Many of the structures we passed were obviously there 50 years ago when we made these journeys. There was even an old gas pump that showed a price of 29 cents a gallon. That was certainly not in use for a long while. When we got to the cane supplier, no one was there, so we returned home. But nothing was lost.
On the way back we passed Good Counsel Camp, a Catholic Youth Camp that both me and my sister attended in 1958. We entered the grounds and while still in use looks pretty much the same as it did 50 years ago. We got out and walked around. Ella discovered Spanish Moss and observed, " moss does not grow hanging off of trees." We assured her this variety does and continued to explore an old Florida environment that is not yet spoiled by the advance of modern society. We continued home and passed many thing that except for a few coats of paint are unchanged over the past 50 years. It seemed special to explore in the company of my sister who was with me those long ago years and Ella who until yesterday had not even been aware of the types of moss that hang from trees and thrive in the air.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sick Day - Vacation day; Ocala, FL

Many of the folks I have visited or run into during the past several weeks have been suffering from flu-like symptoms. These seem to fall into two different groupings. One malaise centers in the tummy, the other in the nasal passages. In my travels these two sets seem equally divided. For the most part the symptoms are very debilitating and many people are just staying in bed. My grandkids showed up on Monday carrying the last vestiges of the sinus variety. They seem well past the debilitating stage, but sported familiar runny noses.. It was around Saturday of last week that I began to sense the onset of discomfort in my sinuses. I soaked myself with Vitamin C, Zinc Supplements, and other herbal remedies. But yesterday I was hit with the full onslaught of this nasty bug. I usually do not take flu shots. However, this year a persuasive Doctor got me to succumb when she offered to provide one for free. I hear news that this year’s prophylaxis is not aimed well and this contagion is overcoming and pervasive. It wins. I join many in having to get past it.

I am not going to complain about my symptoms but would like to express gratitude that this bug hit me at a time when I am not having to stay in my vehicle and can enjoy the amenities of a real bed, an in-house bath, and the nursing skills of several friends and family members. Today’s pause will likely focus on those unfortunates who have to go through this scourge without the benefit of like facilities. I wonder if having these blessings provides me with the space to have empathy, or is it vice versa? I will not let it get too deep, but I will cultivate gratitude for my station and foster caring concern for those less fortunate.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wow! What a drive: Ocala, FL

Now I realize why I take the back roads and meander. Long trips, especially by plane, get my physical body relocated much before the rest of me arrives. But the good news is we are here. A small event jumped into my day that gave me pause and reflection. Early on, I was having difficulty finding a space at the Buffalo Airport long term parking lot. It was not only crowded but the few available spaces were deep in snow that had yet to be cleaned out. I seemed to be one of about a dozen cars that were circling the lot hoping to land on a space should it appear. We were acting like vultures, as our only chance appeared to consist of following a party that was returning to their car.

Finally, I noticed a space behind a snow plow vehicle that was sitting with its engine running and no operator in sight. I gauged that it was a tight squeeze to fit between the plow and the adjacent car. It also involved some deft maneuvering, as it was not a straight in shot. Feeling pressure to get to the check-in line, I decided to attempt the squeeze. I manage to get the bulk of my vehicle past the rear bumper of the snowplow truck. As I was beginning to start the jockeying part of my parking attempt, the shuttle bus driver watching me honked and got me to stop. I got out and walked over to him to size up the matter from his viewpoint. I could then see that my idea was futile because there was not enough room to complete the turn I was attempting.

I returned to my car and slowly proceeded to get myself out of the jam I was in. Because I knew that my wheels were cocked from my turn attempt, I had to steer back into a straightaway extraction. As I crawled forward, I felt the urge to halt and examine my position. As I looked around I noticed that the truck’s bumper was beginning to push against my rear passenger window. I got out, sized up the situation and extrapolated the angle it would take to halt the process of pushing my window up against a large piece of metal. There was no doubt in my mind which part would give. Altering my angle of attack, I got out of that pickle with nothing broken and only the slightest paint smudge from the bumper on my glass.
Shortly, The snowplow operator returned, apologized for the delay, moved ahead and I parked quickly with no complications. I boarded the shuttle, now crowded with intended flyers, and we headed to the parking lot exit. As we got there, the driver noticed the automatic gate was not operating and someone had driven through and broke off one side in order to affect an escape. As he sat there, gauging whether there was enough room to squeeze by, another shuttle passenger emerged, entered the bus and sat next to me. I quickly told her my short parking attempt story and questioned what is the meaning of all these tight squeezes appearing. This included the angst coming from the shuttle bus passengers who felt the need to proceed to their respective boarding gates. I informed the driver that there was enough room on my side of the bus to get by and encouraged him to make his way forward. When he eased through I offered , "Congratualtions, good job." Being grateful my PT-RV had escaped unscathed, I spent a lengthy part of the time passing through the boarding process meditating on tight scraps, and by the skin of our teeth escapes.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Leaving the snow behind: Buffalo, NY

In a couple of hours, I will be boarding a plane with my daughter and grandkids then head to Florida. This will be a working vacation as my hostess in Florida indicates she will put me to work. This suites me and helps me to afford such a luxury from a semi-retired hobo’s station that does not provide vacation benefits. Nonetheless, it will be wonderful to get away and spend some family time while enjoying the benefits that a vacation can provide. Even someone whose lifestyle is built upon getting away, can stand back and assess how well the goals are being accomplished. While venturing across New York state yesterday a friend observed, “How fitting it is to leave from here with the remnants of the past snow piled high before you head south.”
Yesterday’s journey took me across the tops of the Finger Lakes. As I proceeded in westerly direction the amount of snow still left around increased until I reached Buffalo. There the streets were not even cleaned of snow yet and parking could only be accomplished by waiting for someone to vacate a space then quickly move into the small sheltered patch they left. It seemed that no where had the snow removal been affected so that an extra vehicle could fit into Buffalo. Maybe by design this is Parking Control. Well, it will not work since I am leaving my Pt-RV here while I will be away.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Getting ready for vacation:Binghamton, NY

Even hobos get a holiday. Before I left to begin my on the road adventure, I planned to travel with my daughter and grandkids to Florida. We booked flights from Buffalo to Orlando. From there we will go to Ocala, Gainesville and the environs of Northern Florida. Having a five year old boy and an almost four year old girl on this part of the journey will likely dictate much of the direction that we take. Last year. Liam, seemed to get most enjoyment from riling up the red ants when he found one of their nests. He managed to get away without a mishap involving an attack my angry red ants. This year I will see if I can find him another activity that will both occupy him and be less obtrusive wild life colonies. If it is warm enough he does enjoy running about naked. That is preferable to disturbing the insect culture.
Ella has never been to Florida, not anywhere in the winter when she can be warm enough to shed some clothing. She was born in Toronto and last week had the experience of going to school in deep wintry weather. She like her brother enjoys the outdoors in all types of weather. This will be the first time she will get to enjoy warm outdoor weather in her birth month. Although she will not have her birthday until she returns home later in the month, she will be able to have the memory that not all Marches necessarily have to come in like a lion to exit like a lamb or vice versa. For me the rest of the day is to unload my PT-RV and find a storage place for it while I am on unpaid vacation.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sometimes the Postman is late: Southbury, CT

My daily routine is shortly after waking, I write my journal entry using MS Works WP. Next, I seek a walk, an Internet connection and a cup of coffee. I obtain these in order of their appearance, usually coffee arrives first. This morning the Internet connection shall be tardy. I spent the night no where near a connection I can access. Coffee is close by and a walk is only steps away. So although I can scribe my journal entry, it will be late in getting posted to my blog. I hope that any of my regular readers do not get anxious because this entry did not appear in a timely fashion.

In regards to time several more items popped up. First, today is either the beginning or ending of daylight savings time. I am not sure what end is DST or EST. But the clocks had to be moved ahead one hour. So it is either 6:00 or 7:00 depending on whether or not the clocks I am seeing have been moved ahead. I will have to ask my host later about what time it really is. Next, several folks have contacted me with the question “Why do you get up and post your journal so early in the morning?” Apparently the server I post on is located in the Pacific time zone and the time of posting is recorded in PST. Since the beginning of my blog I have stayed in the Eastern Time Zone. My posting, therefore, is three hours later than the time indicated on the blogsite. So please do not worry that I am suffering from some manic state and am up regularly at extraordinarily early hours writing this journal. It looks like a bright sun is high in the sky so I shall load up my horse and head out to an internet connection in good time.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

If not today--When?: Southbury, CT

The title of today’s entry is a phrase I pondered upon awakening this morning and I believe comes from Dr. King. It is an appropriate question to ask ourselves as we delay implementing our dreams. And another of Dr. King’s memorable quotes was, “I have a dream.” As I was spending the past several days visiting friends from my past I felt I was not fully engaging with the dream unfolding in my current journey. This made me feel discomfort that I suppose comes because a large part of my dream is rooted in engaging strangers. Although I enjoyed spending time renewing old acquaintances, I was not allowing space to kindle new connections. Somehow, by focusing on previous relations I was not biting on opportunities to foster new ones. I guess that keeping one hand on the old while the other hand reaches out toward something new requires an act of balance.

Balance is a concept that I often describe as, “an imaginary point I cross over while going from one extreme to the other.” The past several days give a case in point of this paradigm as I was immersed in long-standing friendships. A point of my wandering is to be an explorer of human relations. Somehow, I need to figure out how to conduct this exploration while in the presence of established acquaintances. The picture I get is of a dance where all the participants are holding hands in a circle. Another factor that likely has bearing on the depth of this pondering is that today is the one month anniversary of the embarkation of my adventure. I believe a celebratory dance is called for. Today, I will seek out such an opportunity.

Friday, March 7, 2008

It looks a lot like Spring: Cambridge, MA

I began yesterday morning with a repeat of the walk I took the evening before, but in a reverse direction. It must have been mild overnight, because although there was no rain almost all of the previous snow had melted. The streams were again rushing with the water from this melt off. Again I did not see beavers at work but walked at a pace that would make any beaver proud. Before noon I drove to Cambridge and accompanied by a friend took another lengthy hike down to the banks of the River Charles. There we enjoyed a pleasant sit on a park bench witnessing the buds that are beginning to spring from tree branches. Maybe that is why we label this approaching season Spring, since signs of growth seem to be leaping out all over the place.

By this morning it appeared that an overnight freeze did not take place although there are signs that a light frost settled in the night. But the swelling light from the sun is making short the frost’s stay. The skies are bright and clear and it looks like another fine day for my walking regime. After that I plan on heading westerly to take on a chair that needs a new rush seat. This is work I had planned when I headed to New England last week but the chair's owner was not available but she has returned from Florida and I will get this chance to ply my trade and look forward to a hike in the hills of west central Connecticut. Aha, for the life of a hiking traveling worker.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Taking a walk: Upton, MA

The thought came upon me that while spending much time in my PT-RV either moving around or working on my writing, I am not getting proper exercise. So, I visited a friend with whom I have always enjoyed brisk lengthy hikes. Usually we were exercising her dogs, Rose and Lucy. Today we were giving me a workout. Through out it was apparent that I was not in the same shape physically that I enjoyed two years ago. Aging has certainly had its way, but additionally a more sedentary lifestyle has taken over. Before beginning this adventure, I had even pretty much given up on my bicycle, having left it in care of a friend. It is obvious that an inactive routine had slowly crept into position. A decision was calling and in conversation and intent I committed to adopting an invigorating regimen. A daily hike of increasing vigor will be my goal.
The setting for our trek was on a small single lane paved road that weaved around small farms, older country homes, and abandoned storage buildings. Several small streams were running briskly and overflowing in places as they carried away the remnants of last week’s snow. In one spot there was evidence that a beaver’s dam was going to need some repairs to recover from the flood’s onslaught. I did not witness the beavers at work, but sighted a couple of trees that had been felled by beaver’s teeth. Maybe it was at the end of their work day and their project would resume in the morning. It seems they are getting enough exercise. And I will hold up the vision of them hard at work while I perform my daily exercise routine in a “busy as a beaver” mode.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I found a shadow!: Hudson, MA

Shortly after posting yesterday’s blog and making up my mind to go on a hike searching for a shadow, a few appeared. Even before I could get outside, the overcast parted and sunlight came into view in the Southeasterly sky. I hurried outside to give witness to what turned out to be shadow’s only manifestation for the day in this neck of the woods. Before I could go on the hike the overcast closed in and the rest of the day had indirect lighting. Nonetheless, it was a wonderful day for being outdoors. Even though I had a toilet repair project going on indoors, I was able to get in a walk. During the day, I ruminated over the sun’s brief casting of shadows almost at my beckon.
It certainly seemed odd, no sooner had I called for a shadow, the sun broke forth and produced a number. Surely, I have no such power to command the sun and clouds to move at my call. But, could there be some other force that lies below the surface that perhaps nudged me to seek for something shortly before it was to appear? Perhaps there is some latent talent that connects us with our environment. By virtue of being outdoors more often, possibly, we can access an ability our ancestors possessed to read the movement of winds, clouds and sunshine. This past Saturday, my friend Gary named me a Geomancer. Maybe he was detecting something I was not aware of. It may also be just an uncanny coincidence and have no import whatsoever, save maybe entertainment for an active mind. However, I will keep an open mind and humble spirit and see how it unfolds.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Taking a breath: Hudson,MA

Today feels like a good day to take off. By that I mean a day similar to a sick day, a mental health day, a floating holiday, or any of those other phrases that describe the feeling, “Today, I would rather not.” Not having a place to call and report I am not coming in, I wish to inform you that today, I will not be in my usual place either mentally or physically. The Traveling Workers Union is neither strong nor financially solvent enough to provide its members with sick pay. In fact, the Union does not even have the resources to track its members. However, your prayers and good wishes are appreciated.

So what does a hobo do on an off day? We do not even get a handbook with instructions on how to meet unforeseen circumstances. But on the bright side we also do not get volumes of clear-cut finer points explaining how to handle the ordinary. So left to my own devices, I am feeling the urge to take a long hike. The sky is overcast, the weather slightly warm and most snow around here melted. I believe I will go on a search to see if I can find a shadow. Presently they are all hidden away, but I have hope that at least briefly one may fall to the earth. Tomorrow, you may find if I had success.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Under way: Woods Hole, MA

I am writing today’s entry while underway. No, I am not composing at the same time as navigating my PT-RV. That would not only be foolish but would likely result in fiasco in both endeavors. But I am traveling nonetheless, aboard the MV (Motor Vessel) Martha’s Vineyard bound from Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole. I am enjoying the amenities of an Internet connection, a 110 Volt outlet, and a coffee bar. If I could only pilot this vehicle while on the overland portion of my trip. Maybe, I could design a trip on the river and canal systems of this country. That would certainly answer my longing for an enhanced mode of transportation. Look at what happens when I get to write while someone else is doing the driving. My daydreaming gets enhanced and outrageous. But in that type of projection could be hints at a greater reality.
So far on this journey, I have felt a greater sense of connection and at home while plying the paths of rivers. I am entertaining the notion of making this voyage along the routes of the early transportation courses of this country. That would keep me focused on the rivers, canals, and lakes up to the Great Divide. Once over that could lead to exploration of similar systems on the western slope. This idea is filling me with an increased sense of purpose and focus. I may have hit upon a directed path. After a few more days of visiting in familiar haunts on the east coast, I may well follow the trails of the earliest explorers has they headed out North and West. As soon as this boat docks, I will hop on my pony and carry this notion into the next several days and see how it settles.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

If you don't like the weather: Vineyard Haven, MA

There is an old New England maxim that states, “If you don’t like the weather wait a few minutes.” When I arrived on the Vineyard on Friday the morning temperature was 15o. Snow was expected that night and by the next morning an all night rain was accompanied by clearing skies and rising temperatures. The day proceeded as sunny, bright and comfortably mild. The temperature climbed into the 40’s and only a slight breeze. These conditions provided an wonderful setting to conduct many brief cheerful reunions. Without purposelessly seeking old friends, visiting old haunts like the Post Office, a coffee house, a church hall soup supper, and a bakery provided many chance encounters. The initial greeting expressions were bold, bright, and sincere. Most contained the question, “Are you moving back here?” My answer was a strong, “I am not.”
This location is definitely a tourist spot and vacation setting. Currently, I feel as on vacation from my road trip and just visiting old friends instead of doing the work associated with building a sustainable traveling adventure. Most of the voices I hear contain the suggestion to stay for more than a while. But as I explain the nature of my adventure, I receive encouragement and good wishes and expressions of joining with my quest at least in spirit. There were a couple of opportunities that arose that were they anywhere else I would choose to stay awhile and engage in work. But since I have already booked ferry passage to leave today, will have to pass on those prospects. And that is the major downside to living insularly, by being beholden to the ferryman.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

You can't go home: Vineyard Haven, MA

I am finding a truth in an old slogan. You can never return home. That is, the home you left is not the same as the location left behind. Everything here is slightly changed. I have heard plenty stories from folks who upon returning home found that the changes that occurred in their absence created a significantly different place than they remember leaving. On top of all that , this was never a home to me regardless. But, it still has significantly changed. Old locations have been supplanted by new trappings, to the tune of multi million dollar mansions. And it never ceases to amaze me the extent that our civilization constructs substantial residences on coastal flood plains, with rising ocean levels. This kind of thinking gets me labeled as depressing, but I guess it would have likewise been pessimistic to point out Mount Vesuvius was belching smoke and ash down upon the fields of Pompeii. So, I won’t say another thing about it as I head out of here and make my way to the mountains.
On the other hand, it has been a blessing to visit old friends and acquaintances and feel the welcome they extend to me. By and large, these folks take pleasure in getting the drift of my endeavor and wish me blessings on my expedition. Again many express the slight wish to be on a similar endeavor. Were it possible to construct a huge ark like vehicle, I would enjoy being a pilot and tour guide. Songs like “Yellow Submarine” and “Magic Bus” are coming to me and I think I will go search my music collection for a touring song, if the creek don’t rise.

Blog Archive

About Me, Part One

My photo
Rock Balancing: The Beginning. What began as a journal of my travels took a hiatus when I began to settle in Ithaca NY. In the meantime, I took up the practice of setting rocks to balance. I returned to my blog to begin recording this story

Part, The second

On Easter Sunday Morning, 2008, I made a decision to settle in the Ithaca New York area. At the same time, I decided to continue to post my blog, However, the stories now will come from the archive stored internally. These will be the stories I gathered while on previous journeys and never entrusted to paper. The date of each posting will not reflect the date of the story being related but will mark the date that narrative got inscribed.

Carry wood

Carry wood
33 years later

Part: The third

I took a brief hiatus from my daily blog writing. I did not know the direction it would take. part of me thought I would abandon it. It turns out I missed it. The old title "On the Road Again' is no longer apt. It appears I am settling. The travel stories will age to a point, when I will probably resusitiate them and do something with them. I dusted off some old stories and begin this new series.
Thr first is one was written two years ago. I edited it and begin again a series that is more apropos to someone settling in upper New York State. They are meant to warm, amuse, educate and sometimes inflame.