We're nestled among tall pine trees here at Circle CG Farm in Bellingham, Massachusetts. Darlene is going to spend the afternoon with a college friend, Duce, whom she hasn't seen in more than 20 years. I am headed to Providence to take photos of doors. Long story, a project for my mother the painter.
I finished Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness at 2 a.m., a spooky time to digest such a dark book. It took a while for me to fall under the tale's spell, but by the end I was hungry to go deeper into its thrall, rereading sections and the scholarly introduction. I hope to put up an audio podcast about the book later today or tomorrow, when we will lay over in Bellingham because a big storm is coming. Not a good day for the RV to make its final leg of the trip, a two-hour drive to Maine.
Friday, October 27, 2006
Camping in Cambridge
The Southwind looked right at home next to my sister's studio house in the city. It was so much fun to walk around the corner to her home to visit and to have her and Time drop by for a chat in the RV. Instant neighbors!
Ye olde motorhome is parked in a driveway in Cambridge, near my sister's home. This makes us instant neighbors, a very pleasant development. Darlene and I walked over to Steph and Tim's house for a comfort-food supper of Texas hash, made from Grammie Stiles's recipe. Then we walked back so I could show them a slide show I've set to a James Taylor tune, featuring foliage from the ramble.
I took the photo above yesterday on Boston Common, walking to a meeting at the New England Foundation for the Arts. Their office is on the seventh floor overlooking the Common, including a spectacular view of the gold dome of the Massachusetts State House.
We're a long way from Yogi Bear's Jellystone Camp Resort, but the two rooms we're living in are exactly the same, no matter where we park the rig. The Ramble is in its final days, having sped by at a leisurely pace.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Heart of Hingham
I'm having fun exploring the towns outside of Boston during this phase of the ramble, because when I grew up in Wayland I never came to these places. Hingham? I heard about it in WBZ Radio traffic reports. Foxboro? Before the football stadium was built there, I'm not sure I'd ever heard of it. This early sense of geography is tribal. As a boy, I had a vague sense that those who lived 40 minutes away were not "our people" and that they might not take kindly to our intruding on their affairs. But now I'm rolling across New England in a 32-foot motorhome, a goofy Denver tourist wherever I go, so why not check out some of those tribal territories I never knew as a kid? This could lead anywhere: Hull? Revere? Swamscott?
It helps that I'm reading Conrad's Heart of Darkness, which evokes the terrors of traveling into Africa with cannibals as crew on the little river steamer, looking for Mr. Kurtz.
For now, we will make a Volvo foray into deepest, darkest Hingham to find the heart of darkness at a coffee shop with WI-FI.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Darlene and Claire, out for a walk at Normandy Farms Family Camping Resort.I finished an article I've been working on and just submitted it to The Grapevine, AA's "meeting in print." It's titled "What I Learned in Akron," and it gave me a chance to ruminate on our visit to the birthplace of AA, on the drive out from Denver nearly two months ago. As I worked on the piece, I realized that visiting Akron deepened my appreciation for the fragile history of AA--so many coincidences led up to Bill and Dr. Bob meeting in Akron on Mother's Day, 1935, largely through the persistence of one woman, Henrietta Seiberling. Darlene remembered the recording of Henrietta that we listened to at the gate lodge of the Seiberling estate, her home where she hosted the historic meeting that led to the founding of AA.
The recording was made many years later, when Henrietta's son called her on the phone to ask about her memories of Bill and Dr. Bob. She made an intriguing point about Bill, which I transcribed from my tape as follows:
…we can all see in his life what the Oxford Group people had told us in their message, that if we turn our lives to God and let Him run it that He will take our very shortcomings and make them valuable in His way and give us our heart’s desire. And when I got the word that Bill had gone on, I sat here, this is between you and me, and it was just as if somebody had spoken again on top of my head the way I got guidance [and] said to me, “Verily, verily he hath received his reward. … And then I took Bill’s story from Alcoholics Anonymous, I took the book down, and there I saw where he said all his failure and all the different things he’d failed in was because he always wanted people to think he was somebody. And in the first edition of the book he said, “I always wanted to make my mark upon people.” And by letting God run his life, God took that ego and gave him his heart’s desires but in God’s way. And when he was gone, he was on the front pages of The New York Times and he was famous all over the world.In researching the article, I found this copy of the obit in the Times. Bill would have been thrilled, I suppose, since he had kept his anonymity in the media throughout his life but had signed a document saying it could be broken at the time of his death.
Darlene has been working steadily the past two days on a new foliage-inspired quilt. When I first imagined this RV Ramble, I dreamed of quiet days when she would be quilting in the front of the motorhome and I would be playing on the Macintosh on the desk in the bedroom. This has been one of those days, as sweet as I had imagined.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Day 39 of the Fall Foliage RV Ramble
It's a rainy night at the Normandy Farms Family Camping Resort in Foxboro, Massachusetts. I love the sound of rain on the roof when it's propane-heat cozy inside. It has been more and more difficult to find campgrounds that are open this late in the season. So we were thrilled to find this one, about 40 minutes from Cambridge. Plus, it's the Waldorf-Astoria of campgrounds, boasting not only fast WIFI connections and lovely, wooded grounds but a heated, indoor swimming pool, ATM machine, store, and people who will come and walk your dog for you. We have reserved Site B3 through Friday and are on the waiting list if something opens up for the weekend, when Normandy Farms is completely sold out because of a Halloween party. If we stay, we will need to buy a big bag of candy to dole out to scary little campers scampering among the rigs.
Darlene spent the day working on a new quilt, and I pressed ahead with a family movie project filmed at the memorial service of my uncle in August. Claire waited for someone to roll her ball, without much luck. It's amazing how fast a day like this goes, unpunctuated by any visitors or appointments. Blink, and it's dark. We have the Volvo with us now, after deciding to travel in tandem since our stay in Ocean Park, Maine, and there was talk about driving to Whole Foods for supplies tonight. The sound of that rain, though, is making me more inclined to graze on existing treats, featuring Macintosh apples, pancakes, potato chips, and butterscotch pudding.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
We've hooked up the Southwind to a family cottage in Ocean Park, Maine, where we've stopped with our Casper friends who are traveling in a fifth-wheel. It was a gorgeous sunny day here today, and the leaves are--dare I say it?--at peak foliage! Lobster was on the menu for supper. I'm cooking a video podcast for upload on YouTube, so it should be ready soon--scenes from a trip on the Mount Washington motorship during a cruise of Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.
Friday, October 13, 2006
By the Pemigewasset River
Tonight we are at Yogi Bear's Jellystone Camp-Resort in Ashland, NH. I don't much care for the silly name, but I'd stay at a place called Crack House Number Five if they had a fast WIFI connection to the internet, and Yogi Bear does. So we're here for a couple of nights. Darlene has begun a new quilting project, and I have some new video to digest, but I'm not sure it's going to work for new podcast episodes. We'll see.
We took a walk by the river at dusk. I am stil amazed at the ShoZu program on my Motorola Q phone. I stand by the river, snap a photo, press a button and within seconds the photo is on the internet in my flickr set. It's weird. I'm not sure what the point of it is, really, since I can easily load photos from my camera with my computer. It's the sensation of standing outside and beaming an image to the internet and thus the world, looking up at the sky and saying, "Nice shot, eh?"
Friday, October 06, 2006
Lingering Amidst the Colors
I just returned from a French AA meeting in Sillery, a neighborhood of Québec. They asked me to read the Preamble, which put my French speaking to a notable test, up at the speaker's table, into a microphone. I loved it, actually, and gave it my best shot. The meeting was in a convent, attended by about 40 people. On the taxi ride back to the campground, my driver got so excited talking about the coup that overthrew Allende in his native Chile that he missed the exit and we spent an extra half hour getting unlost.
I wasn't as productive as Darlene was today, but I did set up a Skype account -- my username is LenEdgerly, so give me a call -- and I loaded Shozu onto my Motorola Q phone so I can upload photos and blog entries directly to Flickr and Blogger without going through a computer. Darlene has been at her Bernina sewing machine now for 16 hours straight, and the results are going to be gorgeous.
My Flickr set of photos taken so far on the Ramble totals 38 shots, collected here.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
I walked Claire out by the river this morning and heard lots of Canada Geese honking as they rose from the water and headed south. That's our plan, too. We probably won't have a chance to stop and explore Québec City this trip, as we make a goose line to New Hampshire, hunting for peak foliage. My restless quilter companion is cracking her whip, reminding me that I promised we would be leaving Rivière-du-Loup by 9 a.m. Which means I won't have a chance to try posting the audio file of the geese, or add this photo to Flickr. (If you click to enlarge it you may be able to see the geese by the steeples.)
I'm dreaming of a wooded place, maybe even still in Canada--Sherbrooke?--whose trees scream "Peak! Peak! Peak!" and where a campground with full hookups also has reliable, fast WI-FI. We'd be a couple of happy honkers in such a place, and would probably stay there a week before moving even further south.