WHAT'S THIS LIFE IF THERE'S NO TIME TO STAND AND STARE
Me with golden leaves at Quechee Gorge
This morning, 26th October 2016, after breakfast we went round the town of Saratoga Springs. We went to a large estate house decorated with a lot of pumpkins of various sizes in preparation for Halloween Day. I was intrigued by a few gigantic pumpkins which were literally about three feet in diameter. At first I thought there were artificial and made of stones, but Eugene told me they were real.
Soon we drove into the state of Vermont, announced by a roadside plaque. Vermont was an exquisite, hilly state with charming houses. The roads as well as the environment were very clean.
We stopped at a beautiful, little town of Manchester in Vermont. As we were about to cross a road, cars purposely stopped for us. This happened a few times. Not only the town was clean, the inhabitants of Vermont must be very courteous.
"This probably doesn't happen in New York," I commented.
"Definitely not in New York!" John quickly added.
We went to an ice-cream shop but it was close. Eugene proposed to go to a yogurt shop but it was also not open. This must be divine guidance, enabling us to have a drink in a cafe, which I later found to be most memorable.
I sat by a large, glass window while the others made their orders. The scene was not particularly attractive, but it allowed me to see life passing by. Eugene handed me a banana. Though I am not a monkey, I found the banana particularly sweet. Munching it while watching life passing by outside the large, glass window turned out to be some of the most wonderful moments of the entire trip.
Nostalgically, I recalled some poetic lines I learned while still at school:
- What is this life if, full of care
We have no time to stand and stare
- No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows
Eugene then brought me a cup of hot chocolate. Although it was not as mouth-watering as the one I drank in Helsinki, the hot chocolate in Manchester was still very tasty. Once again, I realized life was so beautiful. But we needed to find beauties in simple things in our daily life.
We drove past several lakes at Plymouth. The scene at Echo Lake was magnificent. There was a small dock in the lake accesable from the road. Eugene ran to the dock, eagerly followed by me like a child. We took some photos there.
Soon we reached Woodstock -- not the iconic Woodstock in New York State famous for musical festivals, but the Woodstock in Vermont. It was a charming little town. We had lunch there.
We headed for Quechee Gorge. We stayed at a bridge spanning the gorge, and looked down hundreds of feet to admire it. Then we walked down some steps towards the gorge. The leaves on surrounding trees were not just green but red, yellow and golden, reminding me of an alluring scene in autumn by a sparkling stream in Germany many years ago.
We drove on. "Sifu, please get your camera ready!" Eugene said.
As we turned a corner, appeared a wooden bridge, fully covered on top, spanning across the Connecticut River. This was the Cornish-Windsor Bridge, built in 1855, which not only separated Vermont from New Hampshire but was also the longest two-span covered bridge in the world. Of course, after crossing the covered bridge we took some memorable photos on the New Hampshire side looking across at Vermont.
New Hampshire was unlike Vermont. It was wide and open, while Vermont was hilly and charming. We arrived at Concord and checked into the Holiday Inn, ready for the Cosmos Palm course the next day.
Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit,
26th October 2016.
Ryan and me at the Cornish-Windsor Bridge