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Walking the Line

Walking this morning on Cape Cod I saw turkey tracks in the snow. The funny thing about turkey tracks is they look like arrows, pointing this way and that, as if to tell you to Go here! No, go there! Turkey walk in circles looking for food, and their tracks point you, if you tried to follow the “arrows”, towards the same madness. It’s a wonder of confusion and I smiled at the sight of it.

I’m glad I walked early, because overnight snow didn’t stand a chance on the edge of Buzzards Bay, where the ocean moderates temperatures as easily as it moderates moods. Looking at the temperatures in New Hampshire, there was a 21 degree difference between the hills up north and Cape Cod. 100 miles and 200 feet of elevation make a big difference between order and chaos when you’re talking snow.

If turkey tracks are scattered madness, the surf line offers a measure of predictability, for even on its own erratic path it still runs roughly parallel. The surf line finds its own path, curving and cutting this way and that based on the push of the swell, the contour of the sand and the strength of the breeze. The funny thing about the surf line is that it looks similar whether you’re up close on a quiet pre-dawn beach on Buzzards Bay or flying 1000 feet above the New Hampshire coast in a Piper Cub. Up close very different. Add the right distance and the mind tricks you.

We’re incredibly lucky now, with these great leaps across time and space. Anything is possible, really, in our timelines in this time. Yesterday I woke up in Ithaca, New York, watched a college basketball game in Rhode Island, and went to sleep on Cape Cod. This morning I walked on the beach and this afternoon I was shoveling snow back in the hills of New Hampshire. I could easily be in London or California or some other place for breakfast tomorrow morning if time, money and responsibilities allowed. Quick leaps between here and there are possible, which makes the world a magical place.

I run into a lot of people who march along a pretty straight line in their lives, not straying far from home, going to the same job every day, taking the same vacation to the same place for a week or two every year. I’ve tried that line, and it’s not me. Granted, you don’t want to be a turkey moving about in circles with no rhyme or reason to where you’re going. But what’s the fun in traveling a straight path from here to there? Don’t be a turkey, play along the surf line! Follow your own path as it meanders along, but with an eye towards the destination. You’ll still get from here to there, but the path will be a lot more interesting.

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