The seasons of the year dictate when I go on my auto-pilot walk (see earlier entries) through the historic streets of Newburyport, Massachusetts.
During the winter, it’s at the warmest hours of the day, during my lunch break, sometime between 1:30 and 2:30 PM.
At the beginning of the season, before bitter cold and snow may set in, it always feels as if it’s just me and young mothers or the nannies, out to get a breath of fresh air, having bundled up the little ones who lounge in what always looks like extreme comfort, in varying degrees of fancy to not so fancy strollers.
By this time of year, it’s rare that I run into adults with young children. Nap time possibly has happened. Or just plain old exhaustion from bundling up small children for a breath of fresh air.
Instead I seem to hit the time when the “kids” get out of school. What always strikes me, is here are these young men and women, some (young men) literally in shorts. I, on the other hand, am bundled up like Nanook of the North. I always say to myself, “There is something wrong with this picture. There must be some weird medium between shorts at 12 degrees outside in Newburyport, MA, and Nanook of the North.”
And when the weather is like the weather that we have had lately, and no matter how much conscientious shoveling may have taken place, the only passable walking areas in the historic district of Newburyport, MA, are often in the middle of those historic Newburyport streets.
I end my walk at one of the oldest streets in Newburyport, MA, lined with Newburyport ancient saltbox houses. And at the end of the street there unfolds the mouth of the mighty Merrimac River, Plum Island, Salisbury and the expansive Atlantic Ocean beyond. This great vista puts so much in perspective, and I am reminded that I am only one minute piece of an amazing and often awe inspiring puzzle.
And when the weather gets slightly better, walking to downtown Newburyport is once again possible, without constantly jumping out of the way of the mighty automobile.
And I love that moment when historic downtown Newburyport comes into view. I always feel an amazing sense of comfort and peace, that this historic place that has survived so much–fires, depressed economic times, boom times, stands there with so much dignity and composure.