The View from Faraway Farm: No bucket in this list
Just about everyone has used the seemingly recent term "bucket list." Where did that come from? I don't ever remember hearing it until very recently. So, I went searching on the Intertubes. There was a movie about a couple of guys who escaped from a hospital cancer ward to check items off their "kick the bucket" list, appropriately named "Bucket List" in 2007. It starred Troy, N.Y., native Jack Nicholson. Come on, it could not have come from a contemporary screenwriter! Further digging proved that no, it did not. There is a quote in a book published in 1785 that talks about a querulous old man in his twilight "prying the lid off his bucket list." Even though I did get this from the Interweb, I'll go with that.
I haven't really had a bucket list. I've been doing my best to live life as it comes at me. Yes, I did have a couple of goals that I had stated as a younger person, and in my opinion, I made them. Sure, there are a couple of things I wouldn't mind being able to accomplish before the lights go out, but if I don't, that's OK too. I don't have many regrets. Just about everything I've done made perfect sense to me at the time, and for people on the outside who have misinterpreted any of it, well, you know what you can do to yourself. At this point in the journey, I prefer setting shorter term goals. As we head into warmer weather I've created a "Season List" of things that I'd like to do during the warmer season. Last summer's goal was to take my two daughters and my Grandchildren to a rented cottage on a lake. We did that. I took my Penn Yan motorboat and we enjoyed it.
This year I'd like to hike up Monadnock. While in college, my oldest daughter went through a time where she ran up the thing every morning. I'll be lucky to actually wheeze my way up there over the course of an entire day, but I'd like to do it. I have this four hundred millimeter lens for my Nikon that I would love to put to use on a clear day at the summit. If the conditions are right you can see Boston. I know, because I've seen Monadnock from the Prudential building in Boston. It has to work both ways, right?
Hiking up mountains in Vermont is a requirement, isn't it? My Boy Scout troop hiked the Long Trail up Killington one summer, and it was a great experience. We learned that to get away from the black flies all you had to do was get two-thirds of the way up the Fire Tower into the wind. That night was spent in the shelter just below the fire tower on the west facing side, and the sunset was spectacular, especially when the lights in Rutland began blinking on. I've hiked up many local hills but never Wantastiquet or Fall Mountain. Let's put those on the list, too. I should probably start training for these treks now.
I believe that the key to the season list is in keeping it short and doable. We all know that living in these parts requires a lot of maintenance work on your home in the warm months, and I've generally made lists for those things as well. We've got some painting to do this year, a couple of boats to liquidate, and some yard work, but that's about it. So maybe time spent doing things I haven't done would be worthwhile. Skydiving? Maybe. Bungee jumping? No thanks. Rock climbing? No way. Zip lines? Sure. White water rafting? Not really interested. I think the hikes will be plenty fine for this season.
You really don't have to travel very far to see things you haven't seen before. I've lived here all my life and still haven't been to the Somerset Reservoir. I've driven past Ruggles Mine a bunch of times, but I've never stopped. How about exploring the Adirondacks? Ausable Chasm? I've never done that. There's always something for the season list, and the most fun is making it up as you go. Nothing is a "must do" when it comes to the season list. As far as I'm concerned I don't need no stinkin' bucket for my list.
Arlo Mudgett's Morning Almanac has been heard over multiple radio stations in Vermont for nearly 30 years, and can be tuned in at 92.7 WKVT Monday through Saturday mornings at 8:35 a.m.
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