The Road to 65, Mile 164: Base Camps


May 11, 2015, Prescott- I often get to thinking, especially this time of year, about the base camps I’ve known, in my all-too-peripatetic life.  Saugus really didn’t count, as most of my wandering in the early days was around town, or over to Lynn, a long walk, or short bus ride, away.  Fort Myer, VA- I took a bus, then walked from Georgetown or Capitol Hill, all over Washington, and into Prince George’s or Montgomery Counties.  Bangor, ME was the first real such launchpad, and I hitched rides all over Maine, as well as  into New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec.

Then came Arizona, and not a weekend went by that I didn’t leave the Villa-Oasis School and head for any part of the state that could comfortably be visited in forty-eight hours.  Bear in mind that I was without a car, from 1978-1982.  So hitchhiking and bus rides were my ways of getting around.  It was something of a different time, though hitchhiking was a risk then, also.  I made my first visits to  Canada and several Western states, back in 1972, on a two-week dash from Montreal to Edmonton and Calgary, then back, through Montana, Salt Lake City and Denver, to Baltimore and Boston.  The West unfolded in greater detail, during my two summers with Toltec, then Flagstaff, as my bases. I made wide-eyed visits to Lake Tahoe and Portland, as well as southwest Colorado and southern California.

Penny and I were a bit more settled, especially while raising our son and later, in the years of her moving towards the Spirit Realm.  Still, we were off and running every summer, and some winters, either around the Navajo Nation and Hopiland, or to places like Israel, Guyana, Taiwan and South Korea (Aram’s birthplace, where we lived and worked for 5 1/2 grand years.)

Prescott has been the place where I have lived the longest, on my own.  It is an excellent base from which to head out and experience the combination of visits, service, and exploratory learning to which I have become accustomed.  Once in a while, like today, I wonder whether I might be wearing out my welcome here, but I know some people’s snippy dispositions and standoffish manners have more to do with them, than with anything I may have done or said.  I will hang on here, for at least two more years, coming and going, and coming back, to and from places like Reno, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria and Juneau, this year; and other, more distant spots, in November, 2016.

Base camps are no less valuable to the wanderer than they are to the settled soul.  All the preparation and heavy lifting of life go on at one’s chosen abode.  Without home, there is no true journey.  Without the journey, there is no  true home.