We are entering a new phase of this journey now. Milford has come and gone. We have only one performance left on the schedule, though we might still pick up one or two more before we’re done. But the pressure of keeping to the schedule is over, for all intents and purposes – we have 7 days to get to our next show, which is 55 miles away. We could easily cover that distance in 4 days, or even 3 if we really pushed it.
In short, we have a little time now to relax and let our mind wander.
Abner says he can’t think with me pushing all these words into his brain all the time. In point of fact, it’s not his brain – it’s ours. We share it. But I agree that it’s difficult for both of us to get our cerebral chores done at the same time, so after this post, I’m going to step back from the blogosphere for a bit and let Abner have a go at it. Who knows, maybe he’ll tell us a tale or two. Keep checking this space for Abner’s version of our traveling tale.
Anyway, we left Milford yesterday by the back roads, and enjoyed a glorious morning walking down shady streets with only the occasional car to watch out for. But eventually, the byways dumped us back out on Highway 101 – the road we’ll be following until it turns into Route 9, somewhere around Keene. We did a quick 17 miles without so much as a day pack, thanks to Kirsten’s Magical Pack Shuttle Service, and we beat the rain into Peterborough, but only just barely.
When Kirsten arrived an hour or so later, we had fun running through the raindrops to get to the nice Italian restaurant way on the other side of the parking lot. Then we headed back to our AirBnB, where I simply could not force myself to stay awake later than 9 o’clock.
Next morning, I did an impromptu performance for our host and her daughter (and for Kirsten, who was there as well). Again, an audience of only three people, but what a difference: I was relaxed, I wasn’t shouting, I was playing to the audience in front of me, rather than to anybody who might be lurking outside. I only did two stories and a song, but the song turned out to be exactly the right one to do (it was “Little Baby Crab,” and they really liked it, so I took my bows and got out of there on a high note).
I won’t see Kirsten again for a whole week, so I’m back to carrying a full pack again. I did 11 miles on Day 14, fetching up in a state forest just west of Dublin, NH. Weather report says it’s going to rain tonight – I hope I handle it better than I did last time.
One last note from a long-time roadside pedestrian. When I was living in Arizona, I got into the habit of spilling a drop of water whenever I came across a roadside shrine or cross. You can make what you want of it: maybe it’s an offering to any lingering spirits who happen to be hanging around. Maybe it’s a sign of acknowledgment and respect, like tipping your hat when a funeral procession drives by. Maybe it’s just a waste of precious water, or maybe a flower will grow there, thanks to that little drink.
You don’t see too many roadside crosses back here in the northeast, but occasionally one will turn up. Anyway, I like to carry on the ritual. Whatever else it may or may not do or mean, the ritual makes me feel connected.