When I stumbled into Frost Valley in the spring of 1969, I had been hunting out tiny roads generally heading north and east from where I had spent the winter outside of Princeton, New Jersey. When I left Frost Valley in May I kept my orientation, figuring Maine was as good a goal as any.
I suppose Stan gave me a ride to the end of the valley, where the road crossed the ridge of the Catskills and began its descent to Oliveria and Highway 28. With my heavy sleeping bag and box of paints and a little money saved while working on the estate with Stan, I was doing fine and back where I felt I should be — moving through the landscape. The unknown road to Maine was a shining promise glowing in the unseen horizon.
But my heart was a bungie cord. The further from Frost Valley I got the more I was drawn to Bud and Stan and the cluster of sheds that made up the estate’s main compound. The further I got the harder each step was. I wanted to fall into the glowing promise of the unknown road. But my heart was tied to Bud’s quiet tears.
I turned left when I got to Highway 28, headed north. My head looked forward to adventure but my feet felt no joy. Pride did not want me to go back, admitting some abstract concept of defeat, but my soul was aching. Walking on Highway 28, each step was torn by two desires.
After three miles I was passing the hamlet of Pine Hill. First thing, my eyes scanned a roadside gas & grub and found the outdoor pay phone. I did my best to pass it up.
From the moment I figured I’d call my feet were light and my heart joyful. Stan said, sure, he could keep me busy for the summer and to come on back if I wanted.
These forty-six years later I remember the joy I felt when I turned from the phone and walked across the gas & grub’s parking lot.
As soon as I got to the road, two gals stopped and asked if I wanted a ride. I took the long loop back to Frost Valley.