Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saturday Chores and the Last Glacier

There is no one way Saturday mornings have to look if you live by yourself. The routines of any household, though, take their cue from habit and example and practical realities. The inevitability of a load of laundry makes Saturday morning feel lazy and a bit self-absorbed unless there is a serious date ahead with Tide and Clorox and Bounce. A cat may slink under the bed at the sight of the vacuum cleaner, but you know that you have to pass it at least once a week, and Saturday feels right for that chore too.

What were Saturday mornings like after "the last glaciar scoured the New England countryside"?

Devastatingly peaceful.

The early March sun was out, the skies were blue, and temperatures were forecast to hit the fifties today in New England. The language of the Property Guide I had recently received as a new member of The Trustees of Reservations made the drive to Ravenswood Park in Gloucester, Massachusetts, take on its own inevitability. The caption of one photograph: "Lichen-encrusted glacial erratics are strewn throughout the woodlands of Ravenswood Park."

Be careful of the things you read at the breakfast table with your second cup of coffee! The distance might not have been negligible, but I pledged to be on the road when the first load of laundry emerged from the dryer. That plan also gave me time to unwind and rewind the vacuum cleaner cord the one essential time of the week.

I won't hide the fact that a significant part of the lure of the drive to Gloucester lay in its utter newness as a way for me to "do the weekend." That newness had been key in my applying for membership to The Trustees of Reservations -- the chance to have places to walk and muse and mull and savor during this coming year in a way that I had not given myself permission to do earlier in my life.

Would the walk through the woodland paths, some of them still snow-covered, have been more enjoyable with a companion this morning? There were certainly couples with dogs and new families enjoying the weather in Ravenswood Park. The truth, though? I thought through my first walk along those paths that the ideal companion for me would have been some other person who would not balk at the notion of a solitary introduction to this post-glacial quiet and lichen-covered history.

In time I turned back on my footsteps and made my way to the park entrance on Rt. 127. I found the interior of my car warmed by the strong afternoon sun. It was time for lunch, and a clam place that I have visited every summer for years and years was thronging with other people stunned by our unusual March weather.

A later detour to the rocky Atlantic coast gave me a final chance to sit and ponder the day. I spoke out into the air -- still winter air -- and said "Thank you" for being entrusted with this life of mine.

You know, I think I am doing all right with it.


Ur-spo said...

That was lovely, thank you.

John said...

Thank you. It was indeed a lovely day, full of surprising assurance.

Kimberly said...

A delight, friend. And, it made me think of a book you might enjoy -- The Walk, by Chet Raymo. He walked the same path to his work every day for years and years and years. The book is a geologic, geographic, topographic, history of this particular path. How it got from then to now. Fascinating and thoughtful. I even think it is MA.

Kimberly said...

Correction -- The book is The Path, A One Mile Walk Through the Universe, by Chet Raymo