Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Blue Boat

As most of you know I recently read The Healing Woods by Martha Reben. A little bit ago my wife and I visited Weller Pond. We wanted to make sure that we got to Weller in the month of May, just as Ms. Reben did 79 years ago.

We didn’t travel by the same route. Nor did we travel in the same type of craft. But both of those aspects didn’t really matter to us. Our most important reasons for going are another set of whys. Ms. Reben traveled to Weller Pond to cure. And in a sense we did too. Neither BethStar nor I are ill, as Ms. Reben was. But we were looking for a quiet place, with blue skies and clean water; a spot that could renew our sense of why we continue to travel on lakes, ponds and rivers, up mountains and deep into the woods. In that we were successful.

Both of us had been to Weller before. But this time we saw everything a little differently. This time, we had read about this spot and time spent there prior to our traveling to it. To be fair I’m only going to write about my thoughts. When I read about a place I get the benefit of the writers’ impressions, thoughts and emotions. I also get their reactions and perceptions to any and all events that take place, no matter how significant or mundane. By the writer sharing these events and thoughts I now get to see the area in a completely different light. It doesn’t matter that my trip was this last May and that the one I read about was taken in 1931. What matters is that we both went to the same places. And by following I am able to fold in the thoughts, emotions and perceptions of the previous traveler into and with my own experiences. My trip is greatly enhanced because an earlier person had taken the time to share what they had discovered. When we went to Weller it was almost as if we were also traveling with another person. We could appreciate what she had seen and thought and add those items to our trip. In addition, by traveling to this place we were able to personally connect with the book in a very physical way.

A lot has changed since 1931. Ms. Reben saw virtually no other travelers besides Mr. Rice during the months she stayed at Weller. We did see a couple of folks on the creek, lake and pond; a number of whom we know. We were able, to our own satisfaction, to identify the spot where Ms. Reben and Mr. Rice camped. And here is just one of the pleasant surprises we discovered on our trip: the view is virtually the same as it was almost 80 years ago. You can still see the pond, islands, peninsula and wild forests as they saw them. The sky cleared off to a pale blue and the clouds reflected with a wispy white on the surface of the water. Butterflies flitted around and fish jumped from the lake. You can also still see Ampersand rising in the background over a few layers of hills. The camping spot is now well overgrown. But many of the older trees are still the same ones that they saw and she wrote about all those years ago. How fortunate for all of us.

See you at the Library,

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