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Fall's Masterpiece unveiled!

Here we are in the early days of October and it seems that already every leaf peeper on earth is out on the trail.  Even my, otherwise, quiet hamlet of Easton, Connecticut, has turned into a bumper-to-bumper standstill of city folks hauling shiny pumpkins to their automobiles and waiting in lines at Sherwood’s Farm to partake of slow hayrides through the pumpkin patch.  Likewise, if you are trying to book an overnight stay at a New England Country Inn, good luck!

There is no better time than now here in New England to join the many other trailblazers and go outdoors.  To really rejigger, collect a few colorful leaves and scatter them as decorations indoors.  If you have friends living in less colorful areas, plan a day trip with the sole purpose of collecting leaves for them.  Then for five bucks or less, laminate them on an oversized sheet and drop the creation along with a sweet note into the mail. (I actually borrowed this idea from a woman I overheard at a copier shop doing this very thing for a friend.)

Color, color &, yes, more color!

Isn’t that the best way to rejigger, share your joy of the day-tripping experience with a friend?  Let’s face it, e-mail is a convenient way to keep in touch, but taking the time to send an “I care” package packs a stronger message of love

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Patchwork quilt

Image via Wikipedia

I started officially day tripping in 1998 when I began writing a weekly day-trip column for a daily newspaper. In retrospect, I realize that each experience is a metaphor for a snippet of fabric composing an entire patchwork quilt that I cuddle myself in and rejigger, especially when I’m feeling a bit down, drained or overpowered by the big, bad world at large.

A peek inside Nonantum Resort, Kennebunkport, Maine

You see the people I met—from quadriplegics to tireless volunteers and everyone in between—have warmed my heart with stories that inspire me when my hope-on-tap meter begins to plummet. The places from shad museums to arboretums have tickled my imagination and left such an impression on me that I walk through life with a softer heel; face forward and aglow…a far cry from the decade or so that I spent eyes down with a frown. And the things…wow, those things. I don’t mean things that you accumulate. I mean things that mean some “thing.” Avery’s soda, for instance; it’s a shame I had to wait until I was well over forty to slug down a bottle of Dog Drool Soda.

Avery's, the Best darn place for soda anywhere in the world, New Britain, CT

Oh the bus trips I’ve taken, the tours I’ve done, canoe rides and hikes…the aerial rides…so much fun…best of all, in the end, I have stories galore, a patchwork quilt, in the spirit of Charlie Brown’s best friend, Linus, that will accompany me through all the rest of the days of my life. I may not have the most toys, but I do believe—as any frequent day-tripper will verify— I have the most joys.

One of my bus tours in Connecticut

One of "my" buses on tour in Connecticut

I took the news personally and was dizzy in delight to hear that Dick Allen, a Trumbull resident, was named Connecticut’s new poet laureate in June.

Canterbury (CT) Public Library: Ever think I could be as great as Connecticut’s new poet laureate Dick Allen?

In the late 1970s, after getting partially off a rollercoaster ride via the adolescent addiction route, I took a poetry writing class at the University of Bridgeport with Dick Allen.  At the time, I was sandwiched in between a drug-induced past, conveniently whisked away under a shatterproof floorboard of denial, and a future that I did not dare glimpse. 

In his classroom twice a week, I emerged from my dark and solely occupied cocoon.  When Mr. Allen read his poetry, the classroom’s walls boomeranged with intonations and a rhythmic style that could dissect, pluck and reach so far into my soul that the process shook and awakened those parts in me that had been so comfy and so sleepy, wrapped in inertia, for so damn long. Although it took nearly six more years for me to shed fully my Rip Van Winkle-esque existence, the first building blocks in that course of action Mr. Allen’s influence mortared.

In other words, Mr. Allen taught me that in order to experience great poetry, like great life, you have to be alert.  Listen intently.  Peel away the brainy part of the head so that the heart has the room that it requires to breathe fully and, yes, love without restraint.  Love every damn thing down to the wart. 

As I ventured forth to become a travel writer in the 1990s, I approached each newfound milieu with a keen ear, sharp eyes and overzealous appetite that Mr. Allen had first mirrored to me in his classroom.  On my journey, nothing, absolutely nothing, whether a gnawed chicken bone on a supper plate or ladybug on a car’s windshield was mediocre.  My ears heard poetry everywhere. 

On your next day trip, before summer bats her last eyelash, whether you go on a rollercoaster ride or hide away in an alcove at an out-of-the-way library, see, hear, breath poetry.  Get off the jaded road before it is too late to hear poetry for poetry is everywhere…fine tune the hearing.  Afterwards, pick up a book written by the present Connecticut’s poet laureate, go home and read the poetry out loud as if it will be your final voice; then take this same principle on your future travels.

Ferns

By Dick Allen

Almost invisible, but once you look for them
nearly everywhere
like moss in crevices and drifting thoughts,

ferns are what it must mean
to love without yearning. Protectors
of everything small that needs to disappear,

deermice and tossed trash, bad brushstrokes in a painting,
theirs is the softest name, the softest touch.
They are social workers

as social workers should be—so full of calm
even those who don’t trust them
come into their care. Fiddleheads or not,

the rumor that once a year, on Midsummer’s Eve,
ferns blossom with tiny blue flowers
and if a pinch of fern seed falls upon your shoes

you will be less apparent—this rumor
is baseless: ferns have tiny spores
that travel in dew and raindrops,

no more magical
than Henri Rousseau, composing “The Peaceable Kingdom,”
or adder’s tongues, cinnamon, wall rue.

In the world’s secret corners,
men wish to vanish, but ferns are what look on,
trembling, holding all light green places.

From Ode to the Cold War: Poems New and Collected, Sarabande Books, 1997.

New Canaan, CT, Nature Center Greenhouse

 

 

 

Old Orchard Beach, ME, Pirate’s Cove Mini-Golf

Speaking of blue skies in the previous post, Big Skies Play the Blues,

summer seems to bring out the truest, bluest landscape. 

 

Have you taken the time to notice?  (Or are you too busy complaining about…how hot…humid…whatever it is?)

 On your next day trip, here’s your assignment (yes, that’s right, assignment; I am after all a teacher!):  Observe the blues.  Relish in them.  Feel grateful to be alive.  Feel grateful to see…wow, what a privilege.  Feel grateful to be and, just be.  Feel Grateful; live GREAT&ful.

♥♥♥♥

 Who shouted with glee when the color blue was born?

~ “The book of Questions,” Pablo Neruda

 

 

Consummate Author! Consummate Journalist! Consummate Motivator!

Through simple secrets to a happier life like day-trip adventures and a gratitude journal by the bedside, I have not only been able to overcome many obstacles in my life, but erase negative and useless thinking…and, yes, learn to relax, rejuvenate, rejigger. *

Rejigger *

* “Quietly but noticeably over the past year, Americans have rejiggered their lives to elevate experiences over things. Because of the Great Recession, a recent New York Times/CBS News poll has found, nearly half of Americans said they were spending less time buying nonessentials, and more than half are spending less money in stores and online,” In Recession, Americans Doing More, Buying Less; NYT, January 2, 2010.

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Day Trip Travel — Experiences Over Things

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