Come with me and let us see what we can see.
Good day interesting one.
I have fallen in love with American names,
The sharp names that never get fat,
The snakeskin-titles of mining-claims,
The plumed war-bonnet of Medicine Hat,
Tucson and Deadwood and Lost Mule Flat.
Steven Vincent Benet
I have always been and wanderer, a wayfaring man, the stranger in town, a vagabond. It all began in 1945 when the family was slowly plunged into poverty. Between then and 1959 we moved 26 times, always because we couldn't afford the rent, until we were finally in a shack with no central heating and sometimes no electricity. I learned to do my homework by the light of a kerosene lamp, my mother learned to cook on a Sterno can (I'll bet you don't know what that is).
So wandering got into my system at an early age. I learned to hold on to the essentials and let the luxuries go. I also learned the among the essentials imagination, fortitude, patience, determination, acceptance and adventure are among the most valuable. A few books have always traveled with me along with my talent, ingenuity, interest in human beings and appreciation of the vision of great artists.
In November of 1960 I hitchhiked from Boston to Los Angeles. Along the way I met all kinds of people and saw some amazing sights. I have often thought of writing about that trip but I suppose I won't. Being almost 50 years ago it has become more of a metaphor for my life than a travelogue. It's also a spotty but far ranging memory of the country I live in. I've touched on certain things about it in this journal, in the past. I guess that's enough.
The one great opportunity of being a vagabond is to discover things. To be alert and open to where I am and what and who are around me makes everyday an adventure, a big one or a small one. A friend of mine and I went for a short hike in the woods one day. There was a brook, some interesting rocks, wildlife. I kept stopping to look at things. My friend got frustrated with me. I finally realized that a hike in the woods to him meant exercise, period.
Another friend and I were sitting on the boardwalk in Brooklyn. The ocean tide was coming in and the waves were smashing and smacking on the beach, I was delighted. He was bored.
My career took me all over the east coast and out to the Midwest. I usually didn't go to the big tourist areas when I had time off. But I enjoyed finding the tiny museums about the lives and works of some almost forgotten personage and signing the book. Those are treasures in my memory. Now in my senior years my wayfaring and explorations are more literary and cerebral, but they are just as interesting.
DB - The Vagabond
May angels drop blessings on your head.