South Barre Bike Path

Yesterday I met up with my friend Michelle for a walk along a path I hadn’t been before, the South Barre Bike Path. I’d seen signs for it but hadn’t ever walked it. She really loves this walk and was happy to show it to me.

Google maps of start of path
A Google satellite view of the path where we started, on Fairview St.

We met up at City Hall park in downtown Barre and walked about 10 minutes to Fairview Street. Fair warning: the lower part of Prospect Street is a steep hill.

This is the entrance. The path is asphalt the entire length and flat. Our walk was on an early Saturday evening and we only met a few people along the way: a pair of cyclists and a person with their dog.

The path follows the Stevens Branch, and I could hear the water on my left. There are worn foot paths and some mown paths that lead to the water’s edge. One path goes to the Barre City Dog Park.

I like that there was vegetation on both sides of the bike path, which includes a tall tree canopy, swaths of goldenrod, jewelweed, bramble and wild grapes. Compared to the Montpelier Bike Path by the high school, this one has a more secluded feel.

This mile-long path ends up in South Barre at Bridge Street. Upon exiting, we can look over the bridge onto the water. Be careful because the traffic is fast here and the sidewalk is not wide.

We turned around and headed back after that to finish out a comfortable two-mile walk. Fairview Street is a quiet residential neighborhood. It’s a nice ease back into the bustle of downtown. Can’t wait to bring Dan here.

The masks 🎭 I’m wearing

I’m the sort of person who gets nervous when in proximity of people without masks (unless they are folks I know, and we’ve already established our safety rules). I’m also the sort of person who will walk down through my neighborhood, hike, and/or drive without a mask, but put one on when approaching people. Because really, it’s about how we are when we’re close to others.

I’m wearing a yellow mask w a skull on it

I had this awesome yellow sequined skull bandana that I asked my friend Kate to make into a mask for me. She was able to get three masks out of it. I get compliments on this one a lot.

She also made the ear saver I’m wearing. It’s a headband with big buttons sewn into it and I loop the ear straps around that. It works really well.

I’m wearing a pretty purple mask

My friend Liz Walsh is making really pretty ones and selling them at The Drawing Board, her shop in downtown Montpelier. She has many styles and sizes. This is one of the ribbon tie-backs She also makes these mask holders—ribbon with small clips on the end (mine is green in the picture), which is so handy. I can easily wear and remove my mask without worrying about losing it.

Of course, Mom has been making and sending me masks too! Here Dan and I go all matchy with the two styles she makes in blue and me in a green one of hers. I look like a Muppet when I have my glasses on! 😜

Lalitha and I wearing our masks

My friend Lalitha and I all masked up while waiting for our lunch. She and I have different pods and so while we’re both safe, when we meet, it’s kinda like we’re bringing all our pod germs along, too! 🦠😬

It’s so frustrating and exhausting to have to be so careful all the time. And to have to extend trust, when folks say they’ve been safe, I have to believe them. Then I have to consider whether I feel safe around them. And asking consent to be mask-free in mixed company is a thing! Hopefully this mass exercise will result in all of us having better boundaries.

Masked up at camp
The Group Camp one. That mask clip really came in handy during this trip.

What I’m still getting used to is washing them and having clean ones handy. I don’t have a dedicated spot for my masks yet. It seems that until a vaccine comes through, I should figure this out. Do I put them with my keys? I already have a couple in my car, for when I’m out.

My brother w his mask

My brother shows off one of the masks my friend Anne made for us. I had bought a dozen or so to give away to folks who needed them. Khonsy is an “essential worker” in the food industry and so needed masks for his commute. And his family needed masks for other times when they had to be out. They have been distributing Anne’s and Mom’s masks to friends as well.

Pandemic in Springtime

News on the poetry front: a recent poem of mine was included in “Through the Window, Across the Road”, a publication of writing and art made created between March and July of this year. I’ve posted it below.

Pandemic in Springtime

March

I awoke on top of a mountain of sadness
With no place to go but down
the vista was splendid and it cut,
like roads winding through a valley of naked limbs
Farmland smeared together through my prism of tears
This is all one long run on sentence
Driving down from the mountain along the edge of a jagged scream
I stay within the lines and I don’t dare veer
Not even for the deer
Not even to stop as I pass by a pen of spring lambs
Pulling with their tongues the last of last summer’s hay

April

What business is grass, to stain this already strained world
To live so close to the earth, the warmth of the worms’ work gives you life
How is Spring never closed for business? Why am I angry at air?
Feel punished for breathing, for singing?
All I crave between days of snow and silence
Is to inhale the tang of manure
as it lofts downwind from the fields.

May

Robins fatten up, red bellies bursting with grub
The trading post of my life
Fills and empties with homemade bread, seeds, masks
The economies of connection
banked with coins of despair and dubloons of hope,
A taming of the wildness within,
And a need to be seen
New tulips sway in the breeze
Holding a scent I cannot yet consume.
Sheep in the field

Thanks to the editors for including my work in this edition. You can purchase the folio here.

https://www.blurb.com/b/10231096-through-the-window-across-the-road