Wild Plants and Wooly Bears
“You don’t travel well,do you Tom,” a friend said as we stood waiting for a bus in the city of Montreal, Canada. I had forgotten to bring aspirin, and my back ached tremendously. Also, I was dead-tired from tossing and turning on my bed the night before, unable to sleep because of a strange setting and all the accompanying noises.
“No, I guess I don’t take to travel much to speak of,” I replied. “But if you think I’m bad, let me tell you about old Mr. Thomas, our neighbor when I lived at home with my folks.
Mr. Thomas was in his early 90’s at the time, I think. Anyway, he was my grandpa’s good friend. And in all of his 90-some years on this earth, he never traveled very far from his home in Belmont, Maine. So when grandpa asked Mr. Thomas if he would like to ride to Ellsworth with him, Mr. Thomas had to stop and think before he answered.”
“I never been to Ellsworth,” the old farmer said. “But since you ask, I guess it’s time I went.”
“So Mr. Thomas hopped into grandpa’s old Chevy and the two headed for Ellsworth, nearly 50 miles distant. Grandpa told me that his friend marveled at the sights and said that he wished he had gone on a road trip way sooner than he did. But better late than never.”
My friend cast me a quizzical gaze before climbing in the bus and settling down for the ride back to our hotel. He assumed, and rightly, that Montreal was about as far from home as I had ever been. In fact, like Mr. Thomas, I consider 40 miles or more a significant jaunt. And any locale 100 miles away rates as something of a foreign destination.
So call me backward, provincial, or whatever. But I just don’t like to travel very far from the pine-studded hillside on my little piece of Heaven here in Waldo, Maine.