Sunday morning I checked out of my hotel and drove back to Cambridge for my third breakfast of oatmeal at the Round House Bakery and Café. Jon Katz and his wife entered a few minutes after me to a room of happy “Bedlamites”, as we call ourselves. There was much laughter in the room. It was like everyone had known each other for years, very unusual since most had only met the day before. The “Ministry of Encouragement” that the Creative Group at Bedlam Farm fosters also instills easy and lasting friendships.
In an earlier blog I mentioned saving a visit to Battenkill Books for the last day. Jon had scheduled a signing event for his latest book, Saving Simon. I was eager to read my signed copy but not one more item would fit into my suitcase or backpack. Sure enough, I spent too much money on several books (and could have spent even more) and had to have the books shipped directly to Florida.
The second day of the Open House at Bedlam Farm wasn’t scheduled until noon and it was still early. There was time for me to take a long hike at the Christ The King Spiritual Life Center. It was quiet when I arrived, the only sound was a lone bell from a morning service. My hiking boots made a crunching sound as I walked on the gravel road towards the woods. The trail marker had fallen on the ground but I eventually found it and followed the pine needle path as it took me deeper into the woods. Eventually I came to a fork in the path, one way with evidence of use, the other covered with a deep layer of leaves. I thought of Robert Frost’ poem, The Road Not Taken, and turned down the trail with the undisturbed leaves. The path led to a field where I could see a house and church spire in the distance, but I turned further back into the woods. How far should I walk? Should I return to finish the hike? That was the big question all weekend. Should I return? Rather than spend all day hiking and miss the Open House, I turned around and followed a trail back to a nearby road and my car.
At the Open House the crowd moved as one to watch Red herd the sheep. Jon made comments about Border Collies that I couldn’t refute. Red is a well-trained and bred working Border Collie, as compared to some of the show Border’s who are bred for beauty and not necessarily a strong work ethic. I thought about my Levi who was born on a working sheep farm in Washington State. Levi is ten years old and he’s still intense, doing self-imposed out-runs along the edge of my property, herding the other dogs relentlessly. My three other beautiful Border Collies run helter-skelter, drop and stare at each other, and take off again. Although extremely intelligent, they are not driven like Levi or Red, which is probably good because high drive dogs with the general public are often times not a good match.
Several times I walked into Maria’s craft building trying to decide whether to buy something. The felted items caught my eye again and again. They were pretty, colorful and whimsical. Could I do that kind of work myself?
Flo the cat let me stroke her sun-warmed coat for a long time. Simon and his girls accepted more carrots. Lenore, given the title of the Love Dog, walked over to a group of us for some attention. We discovered she had a small apple hidden in her mouth the entire time. Lenore also has a reputation as a scavenger. With her tail wagging and butt wiggling, she walked around us getting the adoration she deserved. We all loved her sweetness and forgave her apple transgression. I couldn’t help but laugh when Jon told Lenore to drop the apple (as she was finally munching on it). Yeah, when pigs fly, Jon.
It was getting time to end my journey. I hugged Maria goodbye and thanked her for her friendship and hospitality. It was time to return back to my own life.
The flight home was uneventful. At the Pittsburgh airport I met a man who used to transport the Draft/Thoroughbred cross horses to New York City to be used in the carriage business. We discussed the politics of their continued existence. On the flight from Charlotte, North Carolina to Pensacola, Florida we unfortunately had an adult with, how can I say this, an anal leakage problem. Captain, open a window!
The plane landed in Pensacola to eighty-six degrees, sunny, humid, unusually windy weather. A storm was coming in from the west and I could see large clouds off toward Mobile, Alabama. I was almost purring with delight in the hot temperatures after spending four days in the cold air in the New York countryside. Within an hour I had my crew of four dogs and a cat home. But on the last trip to my puppy’s breeder to pick up Razz, I saw a large, grey wall of rain moving parallel to my street about a mile off in the distance. The wall was cone-shaped and moving fast. Wait. Am I witnessing my first tornado? Later the national weather service said it wasn’t a tornado but something during the night pulled my mailbox straight up and threw it down on the ground. Welcome back to Florida.
A friend asked if I would return to New York. At first I said no, been there, done that. But wait, maybe I could stay in Cambridge for two days, drive to New Hampshire and Maine and fly out of the Portland, Maine airport. There are still some ghosts in my past to dig up.
The bigger question is what did I learn from this trip? It surprised me to discover that for once I’m happy where I am, obedience training my dogs and catering to an over indulged cat.
This is my life and my story.
Part I-Ma Kettle Goes to the City
Part II-Cambridge-Close to my Roots
Part III-I See Red