, Newburyport, MA


December 18, 2012

One-eighth of a mile

In this tortuously fast-paced world we live in, personal time for reflection is at a premium. We all seem to be looking for those few precious moments to take a breath, reconnect and refuel. Whether solace is found within the pages of a good book or poolside sipping margaritas in Bermuda, it without question can also be found in the most unlikely of places. Sometimes it’s as simple as paying attention and being more aware of your surroundings in order to be transported from this hectic world to a spontaneous moment of appreciation and comfort.

I found my “moment” one day while on my morning walk. I decided to venture out of my neighborhood, to the main road, which eventually led me to a small loop of “a road less traveled. After only 40 feet of walking down that pothole-ridden road, my childhood memories flooded in, and my “moment” of awareness began.

The road itself was narrow, maybe 12 feet wide, and the view to the distant turn looked as if I were entering a tunnel. Lanky, sprawling tree limbs from the left careened over the moss-filled, cracked pavement below, marrying with a few tree branches that lined the opposite side. To the right, five beef cows varying in color lay nestled together in the short grass of the marshy field, while others meandered along the small brook that weaved its way through the whispering grasses and sparse short pine trees.

As soft breezes blew, the sunlight gently filtered through waving leaves and the air was filled with conflicting scents. The sweet smell of wildflowers married uniquely with the damp, earthly, autumn leaves strewn carelessly about the pavement. The pasture, enclosed by a makeshift fence constructed from wire and odd-sized tree limbs, created its own unique aroma: a concoction of field grass and wetland plants. Disintegrating tree branches littered the roadside; they smelled of rot and earth.

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