A Most Productive Summer

Everything is about balance, right? 

Something I’ve been thinking about recently is attention.  And I’m going to use the theme of this site to explore it.  The idea that nature is calming to the mind, the practice of forest bathing, Thoreau going out into the woods to live deliberately.  I’ve focused this summer on productivity, carrying the load of building this site.  It energizes me to do so. I also enjoy the challenge of balancing it with the responsibilities of work and home and spending time with friends.

When I started exploring, it was for the thrill of discovering the natural world around me, be it a waterfall or overlook.  I wanted to document these travels and started taking photos.  Later I saw vlogging and loved both the immediacy and its ability to document the process of exploration and discovery of something in real time.  I realized that just walking through the woods doesn’t make for a very interesting movie and so I started looking up history and features to sprinkle in.  When I saw that it was Joshua’s Trust’s 50th Anniversary I decided as a challenge for myself I would hike every property and make a movie about it. 

This led me to realize the natural wealth around us and led me to try to discover more and to create in order to share knowledge.  As I progressed, I discovered more, accumulated more places to go, and information to condense.  This led to the birth of this site.  If I was already doing all the work for my own purposes, why not share it with others. 

Now I take in the land, photograph, and film it.  I’m writing the article in my head, discerning what photos highlight the features, and piecing together shots to document the process. In terms of attention and the “mindfulness” of being in nature, I’ve begun to wonder if the process of documenting and creating is at odds with the experience.  What level of documenting and creating would be too much?  Hypothetically, what if I tried live-streaming each hike, or taking 360-degree photos, or brought along an expert on the area.  How much of each steps outside the aesthetic experience or the moral action of being in nature? 

This is why everything is about balance.  As long as I get the same thrill from discovery and enjoy the creative process around it, I can accept my own divided attention.  Especially if it inspires someone else to explore.

ExploreCT

I’ve added or updated nearly 30 entries on the site since the last entry in August.  Here are some of the highlights:

I wandered among the Indian Council Caves.  Hiked the highest summit in each New England state and threw in CT’s highpoint as well.  Took in the overlook at Horseguard.  Found the secret campsites of Humaston Brook.  Followed the river past the lost Scripture bridge.  Hike turned trail run on the snowmobile trail at Nipmuck State Forest.  Paddled out to Selden Neck to explore the massive island.

Education

A read a fascinating book about the Americas before the landing of Europeans called 1491.  It offered more current information on the peoples and landscape of New England in the centuries leading up to the 1400s.  I got a lot of food for thought from it and added another layer to my understanding of the area.  I look forward to digging into what sites may be left from this time period.

Site Updates

I’m just now realizing that I’ve neglected this for the last month and a half.  I guess I’ve been focused enough on the locations and haven’t taken a step back to see how the site is working as a whole.  I haven’t received any negative feedback, but I also haven’t received any feedback in a while.  The good news is that viewership of the site has been growing steadily, which I use as an external barometer for locations I really need to explore and an internal barometer of which pages I’m embarrassed by so far.

Looking at previous ideas, no progress on the “Where to Start” page.  I did attempt a gif for a timelapse of the Parciak overlook.  I was able to create one and upload it, but it wouldn’t loop.  I guess I’m thinking of this as a “make hay while the sun shines” thing, meaning hike as much as possible while the seasons are right and save these other projects for when it gets dark early and the trails are snowed in.

Until next time,

– Matt

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