Photographed by Nichole Hastings
“It was February 11, 2011. I was crossing the Ledyard Bridge towards Hanover and there to my left was a treat. An unexpected image of morning symmetry. At first I fumbled with my phone after taking the first picture and trying for a second one. A window of time was closing. And I thought the first picture had hidden the basket behind the bridge. I couldn’t get the camera readied quickly enough. The window closed. Upon closer inspection later that evening I came to the conclusion that I was satisfied with my one and only shot.”
I sit here after crossing the Connecticut River from New Hampshire to Vermont, Hanover to Norwich and yet I find no escape. Even while gazing across the wind-chopped water, sitting quietly alone there is no sweet release. It is only away in Nature, hiking through woods and on mountain top do I feel completely free. Free from the prying eyes and tireless voices abuzz with concerns that are so trivial to me.
I sleep little each night, restlessly, since leaving the 100 Mile Wilderness and the comfort of the Appalachian Trail. My neck stiff with tension of being noticed, seen, even called out at as I pass by strangers. My head spinning with the whirring sound of machinery and Man. There is no recognition that I do not want recognition. It pursues me relentlessly, tiring me, seeking me out in mere mundane tasks.
I feel another perfect fork before me only this time it travels North or South. To head North to Monson means struggle, disappointment in unanswered questions and anonymity. To continue South will result in that very thing I wish to escape. That fame, that glory, that living of life I want others to pursue. It falls in my unhappy lap as a cat that persistently pursues that hapless person who does not seek its attention.
Is there no middle ground? Must it be a perpetual wave of extreme ups and downs? I shy away from the recognition, the fame, the glory because all too quickly such things can turn on you and thus subside. The positive and negative energies waxing and waning with the cyclical moon. Round and round and round to what reason? What end? I fear there is none and know that to be the truth. I feel too one with the Earth in this sense. For without rhyme or reason, a chaotic symphony of events occurs finding sometimes a sweetly harmonized or violent clashing of existence.
I curse in vain this knowledge, this thing we call free will, this fate-less existence. I admire, the trees, the water, the sky, the earthy soil. It does not rail and ask why or wonder. They simply are.