If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. ~Mary Engelbreit
As I drove, I thought about this quote. Nothing is permanent and my travels reinforced the continuing practice of accept what I cannot change. Driving through hundreds of miles of wilderness with nobody in sight and sometimes not seeing another car for two or more hours was my experience in Labrador and NWT. Contrast that with my recent drive from Connecticut to D.C. I felt I was in a time capsule being whooshed through the 20th century. If I didn’t get into the correct lane on the turnpikes or highways, the toll booths that wanted change or took credit cards or changed dollar bills confused and frustrated me, especially with all the commuters behind me honking or my feeling others frustration!
All the myriad of signs, sometimes four or five abreast, on the Pittsburg freeway, challenged my visual senses and I frequently thought, “Christ, just give me one that says, ‘get me out of all this'”.
Memories of traveling with my mom in Amish country, for whatever reason I don’t remember, and stopping at houses to look at quilts. AMISH CRAFTS, AMISH HANDMADE QUILTS, GET AMISH JAMS AND JELLIES HERE store signs replaced those memories as did tourist buses and subdivisions, which surrounded farms.
Prior to all this though, my first stops after Maine were Vermont and New Hampshire where I visited friends whom I hadn’t seen in many years. Leaves resplendent in reds and golds, the ground sparkled as the sun’s rays shone on the fall colors and windy two lane roads through the New England hills made a tourist brochure’s advertising come true. The Country Store must not be a patented name though, because I must have passed 10 of them!
I wandered into roadside markets while Alice looked longingly at chickens and geese imagining chasing them from there to Iceland. Red-checkered gingham-covered picnic tables held pumpkins and gourds of every size, shape and color. Stacks of cheeses and crackers and homemade bread broke my resolve of “just walk by”, which I did but with cheese and bread in hand.
From Vermont, I traveled to Pennsylvania to visit the Amish country and see the country. Saturday markets were all open in towns dotting the back roads. Jams and jellies, pastries and cakes, rifles and hand guns, Trump posters and T-shirts, generators and farm implements filled one entire block in some towns. I had found a “Fall Color Drive” advertised in a magazine. Along that drive, I saw posters plastered on walls and billboards advertising places that will help unemployed coal miners. The few towns I went through had For Lease/For Sale signs on houses or stores and few people on the streets. Stephen King or Edgar Allen Poe should have been there, settled into one of the soot grey clapboard houses with a sagging shingle roof and writing another book or poem.
Onto Connecticut to stay with friends and finally D.C. One thing that struck me as I was driving through the outskirts of New York City and onto the turnpike was the noise: radios blaring, honking horns, trucks and sirens, city life. I practically had to pry each finger off the steering wheel when I reached the turnpike. No wonder people get so amped up with the constant assault on the senses.
….and here I am in D.C. Mabel, my van, is in a storage lot getting a rest while Alice and I are getting some much needed sleep at my sister and brother-in-law’s house. Alice and I go on daily walks down to the Mall or along the Potomac River. I visit the coffee shops and people watch. In the mornings, people with briefcases in hand pass us by on sidewalks with little acknowledgement. Again, I go back to a portion of that quote, “change the way you think about it” and experience this person’s life. I lived this when I was younger, working in an office environment in California. I forget that.
After Thanksgiving we shall be heading south to Florida so grateful to be able be on my own schedule at this age.
Take good care,
Lisa, Alice and Mabel