Sunday, August 4, 2013


Etta exploring the uncertain road with her nose

Dearest Readers,
Unmarked dirt roads make me nervous. Some part of me wants a way that has a sign, a minimum of blind bends, and a solid line on a map going clearly from A to B. Not knowing its length or destination disturbs me, so this week I set out to prick my fear of “the road less traveled” by taking three of them around Peacham Vermont. Mack's Mountain Road ended in seven miles at Route 2W, a winding paved road that connects the area to the capitol city, Montpelier, about an hour's drive.
I was rewarded on the way by bucolic isolated  farmsteads, a marsh with a flock of ducks descending upon it, and a farmer comforting a fallen cow lying beside the road.
#1.Mack's Mtn Rd heading north from Peacham VT to ?

Family cemetery and farm along Mack's Mtn. Road
Wetland marsh and pond on Mack's Mtn. Road

#2. Beginning of Lansboro Road heading toward?
Lansboro Road, leading to Foster Pond Road was soft, rough, and narrowed as I drove further into the woods. At one point a huge hole had been haphazardly filled in by hand with rocks, which I eased my little Scion across, squashing butterflies inside my stomach.
#3. Continuing on Foster Pond Road into the woods
I was rewarded again when the road abruptly turned down a short, steep hill that ended at secluded Foster's Pond, maintained according to the sign, by the Vermont Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.
Road ends at uninhabited Foster's Pond

To complement the physical journeys, I am reading Ursula Le Guin’s awesome translation of the Tao Te Ching (borrowed from friend Julie Puttgen). 2,500 years ago the Chinese mystic Lao Tzu wrote a book about the Way and the power of the Way. The Way is all about not-knowing, about doing by not-doing and letting go. His writings convey a subtle awareness of the ineffable nature of this Way that underpins the material and non-material universe. It flows easily, yielding like water around and under, within and down. It is empty and yet marked by a fullness of being and nothingness. It precedes us and continues after we are gone. This little book is a poetic guide to taking a first step out onto that highway and to helping me summon the courage to keep walking and driving the Vermont dirt versions of the unknown Way.

Chapter 1-Taoing
The way you can go 
isn't the real way.
The name you can say 
isn't the real name.

Heaven and earth
begin in the unnamed:
name's the mother
of the ten thousand things.

So the unwanting soul
sees what's hidden,
and the ever-wanting soul
sees only what it wants.

Two things, one origin,
but different in name,
whose identity is mystery.
Mystery of all mysteries!
The door to the hidden.
-Lao Tzu from Le Guin's translation of the Tao Te Ching


1 comment:

  1. How refreshing is the WAY OF CECELIA KANE! I feel that I have just experienced a leap into the natural beauty Mack Mountain and something even more profound! Your writing is inspirational. Your journey fascinating! Huzzah!