One of my favorite parts of the Expressive Arts Opening of the Psychology and Counseling Program is the student artists’ presentation of their own work as “Performance Art”.
At our opening during Fall 2013 Residency, Nicole Grubman read from her book, “I Left My Sole in Vermont: A Walker’s Journey and Guide through Central Vermont Back Roads.” In the book, Nicole reflects on her own lived experiences of transformation as she walks. She also provides practical guidance to those who want to engage in a practice of walking and exploration in central Vermont where Nicole lives.
Below, Nicole shares two excerpts from the book. A link to a video of her reading a different excerpt follows at the bottom of the page.
Weaving the Tapestry of Vermont
Roads are often a line connecting where we are to where we are going. If we are in a rush, the “best” road is the one that provides the straightest and most efficient route. The highway does a fantastic job of cutting through the landscape to find the most direct way to progress. Its smooth, paved line blasts through hillside and pushes aside any barrier that slows down its forward-moving momentum.
The back roads of Vermont rebel against straight lines as they follow the lay of the land. They climb hills, meander along rivers and brooks, skirt along open cornfields, hide under the canopy of dark woods, shrink into lanes, and sometimes dwindle into secret foot trails. The back roads connect farms to forests, mountains to valleys. They are blind to class. Rich and poor live side by side separated by a stonewall crumbling under time. Their treasures demonstrate how present blends past and future: yesterday’s forgotten cellar holes border tomorrow’s foundations. When we walk the roads, we enter the tapestry by following the thread that binds it all together. My invitation to you: journey along the line that connects opposites by moving in the unified direction of the loop.
How to Follow the Loop: the “Space Between”
Journeys are unpredictable, and not always about getting to a destination. They can be as much about process as they are about progress. Focus on the experience of transitioning from beginning to end. A back road walk is an exploration of the space between being here and getting there.
The “space between” is not an external or objective place. You, the walker, will have your own experience of the space within the journey. Fill the loops with insights, encounters, and secret spots you discover when you allow yourself to open into the road.
– excerpted “I Left My Sole in Vermont: A Walker’s Journey and Guide through Central Vermont Back Roads” by Nicole Grubman