Wednesday, March 18, 2009

from the Litchfield Hills

Oh! Pull over! He’s used to me saying this. Usually it’s because I want to take a photo.
I know this place!
There’s a sign dangling at the driveway: Matthews 1812 House.
I used their catalogue several decades ago – to send Christmas fruitcakes as gifts. I was such a fresh immigrant that I had no idea fruitcakes in the mail make people laugh.

We’re driving along Kent Road. We had done a hefty hike along the Appalachian Trail earlier. The bonus of staying in Kent is that the AT cuts right through it – a glorious stretch that climbs up a mountain and stays on the ridge, giving views so endlessly misty blue and beautiful that you never want to leave. (We stretched out on a rock and gazed for a good 45 minutes.)


But I’m mixing up chronology here. Appropriately. It was a day of many apples and oranges.

For the record: we started at the Bulls Bridge and hiked around the damn for a little while.


The goal was then to find the AT. Not easy. Ed knows the white blaze, and still, we could not pick it up. But, it was a pretty search. Past river bends, past a swimming hole with a ready rope dangling from a tree.


And then, unexpectedly, it was there and we were on it. The only hikers. Well no, sorry. How can I forget these two?


Serious hikers, I say to Ed. Maybe they’re doing the whole 2300 miles of the trail…
I get a lecture on how this is not the way one would do it. How you start in Georgia in March and finish up north six months later.
And besides, who brings a fold up chair on a long hike?
Maybe he likes to sit?
What’s wrong with a rock?

Stone fences weave their way through the forests. Were there farm fields here once?

The forest is brown still, but there are signs of green – moss, sure, there’s that – and mostly it just feels as if green is about to happen.


But as in Virginia (my only other encounter with the AT) – the mountains look blue, smoky blue against a cornflower sky.


I wont mention that I blistered my feet enough to stop in mid afternoon. We paused in Kent for a snack and so let me use this break to show a photo of a more precious fragment of the little village.


Refreshed and bandaged, I was ready for an uphill climb to look at “Connecticut’s most beautiful falls.” I'll leave you with a photo of just the top portion.


Over breakfast the next morning, our host serves us blueberry pancakes made with fruit from Henry Kissinger’s blueberry patch (it’s a long story and you don’t want to hear it) and I tell him my own associations with the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut – Patti LuPone (ah, a real flamboyant and generous presence here), White Flower Farm (sadly, too early to visit yet), Matthews 1812 fruitcake. I'll add hereafter Henry’s blueberries and the Appalachian Trail.