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Woodstock Walk


The morning was quiet as I walked along a lazy back road winding behind the main street in Woodstock. Fragrant with pines and cedars, honeysuckle, and wild roses, the aftermath of a long holiday weekend, laden with tourists and traffic seems to have persuaded residents to stay inside; the yards are still. The gardens, with their specific shade loving plants, ground covers, and bushes are spectacularly different from sun loving plants. They feel quieter, more solid.

Before I reached the quiet lane, I’d been startled by a speeding flash down Sled Hill, a short steep road, as a lean, sixtyish man careened on a skateboard, balancing a massive red laundry bag on his bony shoulders. On his face I read elation and, perhaps, just a bit of discomfort or a little fear? He cut through the CVS parking lot and headed towards the laundromat.

On this simple road, one can see non-tended hedges, growing as they wish. There’s a house with a fence but no gate, next to a house with a gate and no fence. Would a person walk through the gate or just around it? A newly squashed chipmunk lies on the road, red guts spilled out.

A young couple walks out from the Mill Stream Motel and passes me by, no hello. They walk side by side, but each are checking their texts. The boyfriend wears shiny new, squeaky, black and yellow flip flops and seems not to notice that the girl’s hiney hangs out of her shirt. What kind of bathing suit is that?

A car passes, and a bored looking young woman leans her hand out from the passenger side to give me a lazy peace sign. Tourists – bah.

A smoky skinned mustachioed gentleman rides past the cross road up ahead. He wears black pants, a sport jacket, and a tall caballero hat, with strings under his chin. The bike is old fashioned with wide tires, and he sits straight backed and serious.

I pass the white house on the sunny corner, with its white windows shades drawn down. It glares and sizzles in the early morning sun.


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