Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Full circle, again and again

It seems like things always come full circle. And sometimes they keep circling. And sometimes they lead to other circles altogether. Four years ago, I started this blog when I left Massachusetts to move west. It was to be a chronicle of adventure, of hellos and goodbyes, of life and love and a girl who wanted to see it all. Revisiting that girl is something I'm glad I can do. We are so different, she and I, and yet.... It's wonderful to have it all documented. It was in this place, in Western Massachusetts, where I am now, that I began this log. And so in a sense, it really does feel like full circle. It's trippy to be back here and walk these streets as the person I am now... ultimately because my year here was both the best of times and the worst of times. I was in some of the darkest places of my life, and I also blossomed into some of the brightest. And so. I knew I wanted to visit here on my way down the east coast, but fate landed us a three week house sitting opportunity, and so our stay here will be full of friends, adventures, memories, and hopefully a better understanding of myself.

But I'm skipping the part where we actually got here. After being in Indiana for a month, and managing to push back more than one estimated departure date, we finally made it out of there. It was bittersweet. Leaving the kids was a tough thing, but it's something I am, by this point, better at coping with. I was ready to continue the adventure, be on the road, see the next thing to see. And so. The morning we were to leave, I got an email from a friend explaining that friends of hers needed a housesitter, and were we still looking for a place to stay? Of course we were! Especially because the house is walking distance from downtown Northampton, one of my favorite places.

We hit the road and managed to make it almost to Cleveland before hunger and fatigue overtook us. Thanks to HappyCow, we found a delicious Chinese place that had a completely vegetarian menu in addition to the regular menu. Their peanut sauce was absolutely to die for. Driving through Lakewood was pretty neat. It's a town I'd definitely like to explore a little more. Tons of unique houses and independent shops and restaurants, all along the beautiful lake.

The next day we made a slight detour up past Buffalo so we could check out the American side of Niagara Falls. Chip had been there before, but I had only been to the Canadian side. It was as breathtaking as I remember it being, and we luxuriated in the insane humidity radiating off the water for a while. We took a little walk (only little because of my ankle injury- did I mention that I twisted my ankle something awful in Indiana? It's healing, though, slowly but surely.), and enjoyed the view. A nice break from a day in the car.

That night we crashed somewhere just outside of Albany, and had only a two or three hour trek into Western Mass the next morning. We grabbed some delicious vegan food in Amherst, sat on the sidewalk, had a pot of tea, and I couldn't believe that we were actually here. Of course it all felt like a dream. The afternoon we spent at the Peace Pagoda- one of the most interesting places here, I think. It was so quiet, and nice to just sit and think. The weather was pretty perfect, too.

The next few days were spent catching up with friends, and visiting much loved spots. And three days after arriving, we were in the house that we will occupy for several weeks yet. It's sort of crazy to be in a big house, just the two of us- as we've been either in tents, or with tons of other people for the past three months. We spent the first several days sitting in silence, reading, and I even took an actual bath (it's been too long). The farmer's market is walking distance, as is the entire town, so we've also been luxuriating in having fresh local produce accessible by foot, several days per week. We've been eating so well- my body loves that. I've also been doing yoga every morning, slowly getting back into it after the ankle injury.

There are lots of places we want to visit that are day trips from here, so we'll be working those into our lives. On the fourth we headed out to the Berkshires, where we found this orchard we were wanting to go to only to find it was closed (even though their website said they'd be open). Helas. The drive was gorgeous, full of farmland and green trees and lakes and amazing old houses. We drove to the top of Mount Greylock for a pretty great view of the area, and a nice breath of fresh air.

It's weird being in a place like this for an extended stay- no family around, not staying with friends. We almost aren't sure what to do with ourselves. No tent to set up or take down, no obligations... it's kind of insane. I was actually feeling anxious about having no plans the other day. Guess that's something. So this part of the journey seems to be about relaxing, luxuriating, and enjoying the company of good friends at leisure. Not to mention the crazy dreams I've been having since arriving here, but that's a whole different blog. ;)