This morning we drove down to the Kingston Amtrak station and took another wonderful bike ride on the rail trail. It’s only about a 10 mile ride roundtrip, but it runs through gorgeous old woodlands and marshes, with occasional stirring glimpses of ponds and streams, and only the sounds of winds and birds and the spin of our tires can be heard. At the turnaround place, we stopped at a favorite coffee spot, Sweet Cakes Bakery, for a little relaxing refreshment, and then headed back up and along and down the trail to the railroad station. A super morning!
This morning Delycia went for a walk with her friend Lee, and I went for a very unusual walk by myself. I say ‘unusual’ because all I did was walk down Route 27 to the beautiful cemetery along the Mystic River, then walked around the complete circumference of the cemetery, and then walked back home – for a total of about 3.8 miles. What was surprising about the walk was that I can’t remember ever walking around the full length of the cemetery, and it is indeed a beautiful cemetery and makes for a perfectly lovely and meditative walk. And it’s only 1 1/4 miles from our house!
I’m just now starting to remember, once again, how lovely the summer mornings are around our house. The last two mornings have been a special joy for me, as I lazily let the minutes make their way past me in their happy-go-lucky way. There’s a special silence in the very early morning – just soft birdsongs and the almost whispering traffic from the distant interstate, and almost no sounds from the nearby houses. Over the years, it’s sometimes been a sacred time for me, and lately I’ve been noticing that blessedness more and more.
This morning, for instance, Cia and I spent the early hours doing hard, silent work in the coolness. I shoveled and dumped dirt for about an hour, all the time appreciating the peacefulness of the silence around me, while Cia, for more than two hours, worked diligently and quietly among her front-yard flowers and shrubs.
Starting the day in such hushed peacefulness surely sets us up for happy hours ahead!
We have been back home for a few days now, just easing back into our usual relaxed way of living together. We’ve had the AC going fairly steadily since returning, but today, bless its heart, is much cooler and breezier. We’ve had the windows open all day long, with fresh winds passing through most of the rooms. I have spent some time this morning shoveling and dumping dirt from our special pile onto various low spots around the front and back yard — a good all-body workout for me. Now, the pile is almost flat and it’s time for some quiet thinking and writing.
Delycia’s friend, Jean Schnell, from another Quaker meeting will be with us this evening for dinner and overnight. She’s a serious photographer, and came down from Framingham, MA this morning to visit our Westerly meeting house and take some photos. Cia met her at 9:00 and opened the door to the meeting house, and her Jean is spending the day there, just quietly meditating, watching the light change, and taking photos. It will be fun to see the results.
Aaron arrived at the cottage on Wednesday, around lunchtime, and we’ve had a whirlwind of fun ever since.
Shortly after he arrived, we spend some time at a wonderfully innovative sculpture park in Stockbridge, featuring some of the most bizarre and zany art works I can recall seeing. As always, visiting a place like that helped me get back in touch with the truth that the WHOLE UNIVERSE (including me) is totally bizarre and zany – and thankfully so!
On Thursday, Cia and Aaron took a 90-minute bike ride on a rail trail from Stockbridge to Adams, MA, near the famous Greylock Mountain. I dropped them off at the trailhead and then drove up to Adams, where I sat comfortably in the shade beside the bike trail, munching a snack and watching for my loved ones on their bikes.
Later that evening, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner, in honor of our 7th wedding anniversary, at a delightful French restaurant in Lee. Cia arranged this for us, and it was a true gift to me. Being sometimes a lazy and forgetful guy, I totally failed to honor the anniversary (even with a card!), but my beautiful, devoted wife came through with a priceless gift for the three of us. We sat in a perfectly cozy place by a big window, and the steak I had was truly one of the tastiest I can recall. During the dinner, we reminisced about our lucky life together, and I think Aaron enjoyed hearing our happy stories.
One of the highlights of the trip – for all of us, I think – were the two trips to the Jacob’s Pillow dance performances. We went with Aaron on Wednesday and again on Friday, and the performances were, as always, stunningly original and beautiful. A photo is below:
This afternoon we lounged beside the lake, reading and talking and taking cooling dips in the water now and then. Later, around 5:00, we drove over to an area close to Kripalu, called Burrell Woods, where we took a short, inspiring walk through tall, old trees that reminded me of my visit to Yosemite some 40+ years ago.
This morning, we took a quick, hot, but happy walk – mostly in the shade of some majestic trees – down to the village of Lenox and back. Below are some queen anne’s lace blossoms bowing in a little breeze.
We are spending a week on a lovely lake in Lenox, MA — a lucky custom of ours for the past several years. We’re renting a modest, cozy cottage facing beautiful Laurel Lake, and for the last few days we’ve been fortunate to have Annie, Gabe, and Louie staying with us. It has been a lazy but whirlwindy time of swimming, kayaking, watching hummingbirds, sharing stories, eating, and just eagerly and understandingly being with each other.
Monday morning, July 29 … a quiet, easy paddle on the lake. No other persons present – just a few birds whistling and diving above us, and some small lake creatures creating soft ripples on the surface every so often.