Text & Photos: Maria Moore
“I like to drive slow – there’s so much going on along the sides of the road,” one of my very favorite farmers in town said to me a while back. When he and his wife have to get anywhere, he added, she drives. “Otherwise, I drive her crazy going along at 25 m.p.h.” “I know what you mean,” I said. “Life in the slow lane.”
On a recent Saturday morning, with Bob at the wheel of his Mini, we were cantering along Steele Road, when I saw something and immediately called out to him: “Pull over, stop!” And so he did and sat there patiently while I got out and walked back to a chance encounter, this time with a box turtle walking along the asphalt top, on its way to the grassy bank and the woods beyond. It didn’t know it was Saturday morning, a time when cars gallop down Steele Road to Brown’s Corner, where parents turn their kids out into the fields and watch them trot around and play with friends, while other adults tell them how.
And sure enough, as I stood there watching the turtle’s progress, along came an SUV, cantering down the road towards us. Avoiding Bob’s eye as he sat in the car, I walked out into the road and stood there, between the turtle and the oncoming car, and waved. The SUV slowed, came to a stop next to me and, seeing the turtle behind me, the driver smiled and told me how she had done the same thing this past week, helping several turtles across Hoppen Road. We thanked each other and smiled and waved as she went on and made a right on Hoppen. “I’m glad Hoppen’s in good hands,” I thought.
And then, it was back to the turtle, standing there quietly, as the car came and went. “Hi,” I said, “I’m glad to have met you,” and then I slowly walked away, back to Bob in the car, while the turtle trotted across the road and quickly disappeared down the grassy embankment to continue on its way.
A chance encounter with two fellow residents going down the same road: All part of what makes living in New Hartford so good, especially when taking the time to travel in the slow lane. Try it next time you can.
Share your photos and stories of chance encounters or life in the slow lane. Email them to Maria at: firstname.lastname@example.org or snail-mail them to Maria at: NewHartfordPlus.com, PO Box 667, New Hartford CT 06057, and she’ll post them for fellow NHPlus readers to enjoy.
‘Life In The Slow Lane’ for Maria is best described by a horse’s gaits: A walk and a trot – both symmetrical gaits – are fine; the canter and the gallop – both asymmetrical – are best avoided.
To learn more about “gait” – the pattern of movement of the limbs of animals, including humans, during locomotion over a solid substrate – begin by reading the Gait section of Wikipedia and then follow the links that inspire your curiosity.
To learn more about a horse’s gaits, including seeing an animation of each gait, see the Horse gait page of Wikipedia.
About turtles: “Turtles are disappearing from the planet faster than any other group of animal. Today, nearly 50% of turtle species are identified as threatened with extinction… The United States has more endemic turtle species than anywhere on Earth; a turtle biodiversity hotspot. Our careful stewardship can preserve the rare species and keep ‘common species common’.” Find out more about turtles and how you can help them survive by visiting the 2011 Year of the Turtle section of the Partners In Amphibian and Reptile Conservation website.
And: If you follow all the right links, you may just find yourself picking up a copy of Shank’s Mare, A Compendium of Remarkable Walks, by Ron Strickland. Maria was lucky enough to have a copy of this book arrive in the mail one day, sent to Bob by Bob Moore, Sr.