> jumping into life.

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I don't like cities. I don't like being in them and I especially don't like driving in them. Too fast, too angry, too many turns.

Work brought me to Boston for three days, and I didn't like it. To the point that I ate at the restaurant in my hotel each night rather than have to go back out into the city -- and considering that the best ethnic food we have in Vermont is poutine, usually I'd go out of my way for some real Greek or Jamaican or even Italian food. But it was all too much for this country girl to handle, so I spent my evenings with my book as close to "home" as I could get. In fact, all the navigating and being honked at and getting lost and meeting new people completely exhausted me.

So when I had an hour to kill in Concord, it was worth my five dollars to make the small pilgrimage to Walden Pond. To walk along the edge of the water, on a clear day in what was still October, with the geese veeing overhead. To pace out the markers at the cabin site, hardly larger than our chicken house (though with a better view). To think about Thoreau and simplicity and autumn and root cellars and land.

I used to smirk at the knowledge that he walked over to Ralph's for dinner some nights, that he bought in flour and and took his laundry home for washing. But I have since lived in lonely places and small, and I have planted my own beans and hoed them, and I don't smirk now. Besides which, he never laid claim to hermitage.

But a life apart, just a little ways apart. It was worth my five dollars and my time to be walking in the woods beneath the still-changing trees, the pond so bright, the geese so loud overhead. To remember that I am not the only one ill-suited to cities, and that it's okay to want to be out in the woods, alone, for a while.

Ai. Driving in Boston is enough to daunt even as confirmed a city-lover as me :-)

I smirked about Thoreau as a college kid, too. Completely misunderstanding his project at the time, as so many of us did: thinking that he should have been aiming at purity, rather than simplicity. The 60's and 70's would have had a much more fruitful harvest if fewer of us had made that mistake.

Mmm, that's good Dale, the purity vs. simplicity. There's such a temptation to look at others' attempts at a good life - of various sorts - and dismiss them for what is really just their humanity. "But that homestead has a TV, that monk had a mistress, the Nearings had a trust fund." Etc. And so all the rest of what they did is negated. Why is that so hard to resist, when I know that my own attempts will be invariably flawed, as well?

Boston is terrible to drive in, one way streets that seem to be circles? In fact after more than an hour of never seeming to leave the same neighborhood we manage to leave town, never stopping or parking...I do want to go back, just to succeed.

Oh, I love this conversation discussing purity vs. simplicity and the judgment we fall into in looking at others' attempts at a good life. It took me a little while to realize I am not "better than" another for any practice that I pursue or any that I avoid. There is no "better"...there is only living my best life.

Having lived in the woods and villages of New Hampshire for 20 years and then moving to Boston for the subsequent 25, I invite you to find the quiet places in your world wherever you happen to be. Spent yesterday in mid-town Manhattan and noticed, amid the rushing folks, some smiles and curious glances, almost friendly when I took them in. I remember running around Brookline Reservoir shortly after moving to Boston in 1984, and suddenly realizing that the beauty of the water and the trees and the light were only diminished by the noise of the trucks if I chose to let them be.

All best,


Ah but Boston has many, many quiet places and the city isn't as daunting as London or even Oxford to one accustomed to the quiet of the country.

I find that I can be alone at peace now even amongst the city crowds, I simply retreat into a quiet place within

Simplicity, even in a city, that's the trick, and remembering to Simply Be while the rest of the world goes rushing past

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