The Troubled Troubadour.

It’s been a few months since I’ve walked the Richland Park Greenway Trail, a nice loop that’s just under three miles and is great for strolling. There are a couple of bridges that cross over a large creek, and although it’s paved and mostly adjacent to a golf course there are places where woods rise up on both sides and there are patches of flowers, tall weeds with tricorn leaves, and spiraling vines reaching up to grasp the sun.

It was really a last minute decision on my part to go for a walk, once I realized I had a few free hours and I decided to take the chance to get out of the house even though it was already after ten o’clock in the morning and the temperature had been at more than 80 degrees Fahrenheit—that’s about 27 Celsius—since before dawn and was already above 90F/32C by the time I parked. Still I thought I could walk briskly and be back on my way home before the sun reached its zenith, humming “Mad Dogs And Englishmen”—the Noel Coward song, not the Joe Cocker live album.

And then it hit me. There was some business I needed to take care of and the faster I walked the more urgent it became. Everyone who’s been on a road trip has either asked or been asked, “Well, why didn’t you go before we left?” And if you’ve been the one who’s being asked you know the answer is, Because I didn’t need to before we left. As spontaneous as the walk had been I’d prepared myself in every possible way I could for the walk—I’d put on a hat, slathered on some sunscreen, and filled my water bottle, all while singing Tom Lehrer’s “Be Prepared”. What was happening below my duodenum, however, was not something I could have prepared for, and for the first time ever it occurred to me that facilities are sparsely located along the path because the powers in charge don’t want to break up the scenery any more than it’s already been broken up by pavement, fencing, power lines, and so on.

There was a place to go right at the beginning of the trail but, again, when I was there I didn’t need it, and now that I did need it I considered turning around and going back but I was about halfway between the start of the trail and a place where I could find relief. So that prompted me to break into Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer”, my feet keeping up the tempo.

The midway facilities are there more for the golfers than the walkers so I had to go off the trail and cross an open field, but there was relief in sight. And with that I joyfully broke into the great lines of John Fogerty:

I hear hurricanes a-blowin’

I know the end is comin’ soon

I fear rivers over flowin’

I hear the voice of rage and ruin

Don’t go around tonight

Well it’s bound to take your life

There’s a bathroom on the right…

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  1. Thomas Slatin

    “…there are patches of flowers, tall weeds with tricorn leaves, and spiraling vines reaching up to grasp the sun.

    This sounds like pretty much anywhere in Vermont. lol
    Thomas Slatin recently posted…The Muses Companion – June 24, 2024My Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s funny and I believe it’s true too. There are so many famous poets, starting with Robert Frost, from Vermont that I think the nature there must be very inspiring.

  2. mydangblog

    Nothing worse than being caught short like that! Glad you found your oasis in the desert!

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The good thing about being caught short on my walk is I know the path well enough to know where to go in an emergency. If I can just get there.


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