Retreat before danger.
Most every day I walk across this bridge over the Mill River as it passes through Northampton.
I suppose there has always been a bridge there, but the current version is quite new, as you can see.
Look from one side of the bridge and you can see the river as it placidly flows down from Smith College.
From the other side however, the water is rougher and you can see an old railroad trestle in the distance.
I've long intended to cross the river on that trestle, and today the thought gave birth to the deed. Or so I intended.
I started in the parking lot of the old National Felt building, which is currently used as a facility of Smith College. There was this van parked there, only I can't imagine what kind of business it represents.
There is a dirt road that runs behind the old factory.
Opposite the factory is this kinda spooky looking wetlands.
Just past the factory I turned down into this little ravine.
There was a No Trespassing sign, but as always to us citizen journalists such notices are merely a dare.
However, I realized I had made a mistake and gone the wrong way, so to reach the trestle I would have to climb this hill.
Climbing to the top of that hill would be slippery for sure, but fortunately instead of my Classic Conz I was wearing the trusty clodhoppers my former roommate Bert had given me.
It's a shame about Bert. Last weekend he relapsed, and in this program you're not given a second chance. Get high just once and out the door you go! That may seem harsh, but there is a long waiting list of people who want to get into these programs, so if you won't meet the bare minimum requirement, which is to stay sober, then it's only right to give some other poor addict a chance.
I will admit that on a few occasions knowing that if I got stoned I'd have to sleep in a snowbank that night kept me from submitting to cravings to get high. By getting stoned and getting kicked out Bert violated the terms of his parole, so he ended up back in prison. That was a cold and clear reminder to the rest of us of what sort of disasters await us should we weaken.
I only wish I could have helped Bert in some way, but I have all I can do to keep myself on the straight and narrow. Recovery is often described as a selfish program, because you can't really do anything for anyone else until you've got your own act together. Still, it hurts sometimes to see others swirling down the drain and not to be able to do anything about it. One of the worst experiences of my life was years ago when I had to watch Jay Libardi self-destruct. It's tragic, but it simply is not possible to help people who will not help themselves.
When I got to the top of the hill, I saw the trestle before me.
However once I got up to it, I could see that it was fenced off on the other side. It's hard to see the chain link fence in this picture, but there would be no way to continue once I had crossed.
That was okay, I figured I would just go out on the trestle and take some pictures and maybe a little video. However when I got to where I should start across I realized for the first time that the boards were coated in white ice.
I decided it was too dangerous to continue. If I ever slipped on the ice and fell into the river there would be no one to help me. Only a few minutes in that icy water and hypothermia would cause me to slip beneath the surface unconscious. When you are sleeping under water, you have a very short life expectancy.
So I turned around and went back, preferring to be safe than sorry. From the vantage point of the regular bridge however, I made this video.
Earlier this week in Northampton I stumbled upon this sticker advertising a website.
It turned out to be a website devoted to urban graffiti, such as below.
It has some pretty cool stuff to see. Check it out here.
What would Jerry do? That was the question Deadheads were asking last week when the surviving members of The Grateful Dead performed a concert the night before the Super Tuesday primaries on behalf of Barack Obama.
When Jerry Garcia was alive he despised poltics, stating "There is never anyone to vote for but the lesser of two evils, and the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil." He also said he didn't want anyone to feel alienated from the band's music because of politics. "People come to our music from every direction," he said. "We don't judge anybody's trip."
So while Garcia might not have approved, Obama himself was grateful for the band's support, as stated in this video.
Here is Phil Lesh, of all people, giving a political speech.
Oh well, live long enough and you'll see everything.