Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Take Your Head for a Sunday Drive

We like to wander. On a Saturday, or Sunday we like to point the truck in a direction we haven't been in awhile, find a road we haven't traveled, and increase our carbon footprint a little.

I grew up in Medfield. It was a small town. Lots of meadows, swamps, streams, and woods to wander as a kid. I have always remembered those times exploring the woods, following a stream, or just watching the ducks in some remote pond deep in the woods. Those were peaceful times.

As I grew, and moved away, I lost that connection with the woods, and meadows. I lost that wonderful feeling I used to get when I found an unknown old country road, and explored it till its end. It would be cliche to say that "life got in the way", but the truth is I lost my way.

That was until I moved to Sturbridge.

Now, I am home again.

If you have lived in the area all your life, then you know what is out there beyond the next curve, or over the stonewall. You know the unspoiled beauty we have in our area. Much of it is how it was 150 years ago.

Or, maybe, you don't.

I know how it is to become a slave to routine, and not venture far from your front stoop. Been there. But, if you take an hour and a half every week or so, and "go on an explore", not only will you find things you have never seen in your own backyard, but your frame of mind will be changed. You'll be more at ease. Believe me, you will whether you want it or not. Wandering the back roads of Central Mass is good for the soul, and the head.

The photo on the right was taken just off the road on Route 198. The barn was abandoned, but the scene that day wasn't. I stopped the truck, and stared off into the field. Eventually I took this photo.

There is so much to see in our here. Places we've never been. Quiet, peaceful places all around us. Its just taking the time to find them. Once we do discover them for the first time there is a very unique feeling that comes over us. Like finding $20.00 in a pair of old jeans, or a family photograph long thought lost. A feeling of recovery.

The view will change depending on time of day you go, the season, the weather, and your companion. One person will see something completely different than another. The photo on the right was taken along the Grand Trunk Trail just west of the Westville Lake. It was taken in the early morning as the mist was beginning to lift. It looked totally different a few weeks before.
I would never have found it if I hadn't pushed myself out of bed, and pointed the truck towards Westville, and gone for a walk with Mary.

We all have a lot going on in our lives. Schedules. Responsibilities. But that is life, not living.

This is where the free, unasked for advice comes in. If you want to loose the rough week you just had, forget the schedules, the issues, the drama in your life and reconnect with someone special, then do this: this weekend get out of bed early, load the car with special someones, and point the car away from your house in a direction you haven't gone in a long time, then drive. After 15 or 20 minutes take the first little road you see that you don't know, and follow it. Once you are sure you haven't a clue where you are, look around you and find that place to take a walk, or stare off onto a lake. After awhile, all those weights from the week fall to the ground. Your pace picks up, you enjoy the smells, the light coming through the trees, and the mist still in the air. Look around at those with you. If they are still with you, and your teenager is not texting someone, then they are feeling the weights fall, too.

If they are smiling, its all the better.

Top Photo: Stream flowing into the Ware River in Hardwick, MA

Bottom: Miniature horses at Sawmill River Farms West Brookfield

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