A Morning Walk
In My Upland
(Part 1)

Dateline 13 August 2016

As I noted in my very first blog post, Upland is a spiritual destination. It's also a mindset, or way of thinking. And it happens to be descriptive of my location. No one else calls this place where I live Upland, but I shall do so.

My Upland is in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. The arrow above points to my house. Please do not visit me (I'm an introvert). I just want to give you an idea of where in the world my Upland is before we take a walk...

I have lived here in Upland since 1983 when my wife and I built a small house (which has became a home in every good sense of the word). Prior to that, in my growing up years (from 15 on), I lived three miles away from here. 

So, over the course of some 43 years I have lived in this place. I can relate to Wendell Berry's sentiments in A Native Hill where he wrote:

"And since I did most of my growing up here, and have had most of my most meaningful experiences here, the place and the history, for me, have been inseparable, and there is a sense in which my own life is inseparable from the history and the place. It is a complex inheritance..."

Yes, a place like my Upland is more than just a place on the map, It is where I have generated so many little memories over the years. Memories of people (many who are no longer living), memories of specific places, and memories of so many events in my life.

Again, in A Native Hill, Wendell Berry says it so well:

"But the sense of the past also gives a deep richness and resonance to nearly everything I see here."

I can not walk down my road a mile without my mind being flooded with memories. I see so many things along the way that are no longer there. Some—those who have lived here as long or longer than me—can still see them. But the newcomers can not.  

Wendell Berry once more:

"The thought of what was here once and is gone forever will not leave me as long as I live."

My children (now in their 20's) have lived here for their whole lives. The people and the land have already become a part of their memory, and they have played a part in the history of this place. I like that. I think it is something pretty special in our transient age.

There are people reading this who have lived in one place pretty much their whole life, as have their generations before them. And Wendell Berry's words will resonate with such people even more than they do with me. 

But I digress.

A couple of weeks ago I started taking a brisk morning walk. I felt strongly that I needed to get more exercise. To get my heart pumping vigorously. The day just seems to go better after a brisk walk. So, I walk a  mile down the road and a mile back. It takes me just about exactly one-half hour.

In my next blog post, we'll walk the first mile, and I'll show you my Upland.

To be continued...


  1. Elizabeth L. Johnson said,
    I clicked 'cool' as my reaction. I don't use that word, so that I don't appear 'chic' or with the 'in' crowd. I would actually click 'Great', if it was a choice! I already like Upland. The sayings and poetry are also great...right up my alley. I like the name, I like the place, I like the peace of mind and the place of mind!!

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth.

      I agree that they need more reaction options.

  2. I actually felt a little sad reading your post, but that was due to personal circumstances. Last year my parents sold their 10 acre woodlot by Lake Keuka which had been in the family for over 100 years. It was the right thing to do, since they had paid more in taxes on it since the last time they visited it about 10 years ago than what it was worth, but it was still sad to see it go. I miss visiting that area of the country.

    1. Yeah, that's sad. But understandable. I would say something about taxes in NY but I'm trying to be less political here. :-)

      I know a guy who, in his younger days, sold a coveted sports car and used the money to buy a 100 acre section of woods west of Seneca Lake (which would be east of Keuka Lake). That land has been a place that his family has enjoyed for decades, and its value has increased significantly. But the taxes can be a killer, and I'm sure they are not going to be going down in the future.

  3. Alas, my folks were movers for the sake of the dollar....I too have uprooted my family over 26 times in 27 years - aweful. I have recently only come to realise the wisdom of staying put, grounded, rooted. So now to do something about that. I cannot repair the past but I can draw a line in the sand. Enough, enough already.

    1. Oh, wow. That's a lotta moving!

      It's never too late to deliberately start putting down roots.

      Thanks for the comment.

  4. Keep trying to leave a msg. , but sit keeps going to G-mail blogger!

  5. Hi Herrick, Maybe the third time will be the charm. Just wanted to say that everything you and Mr. Berry had to say, resonated with me very much. You know the history of my attachment to this little Island over the last 360+ years. It kills me every time another plot is sold to an "off islander" who will build a McMansion on it. When I and the few that are left of my generation, virtually all of the ties to the OLD past will be gone. It makes me sad and maudlin in my old age. I will now try to post this for the third time! See Ya, Everett

    1. Everett,

      I'm glad you were persistent and finally got your message posted. I was thinking of you when I wrote this blog. The good news is that your family (and the rest of the island, probably) has your book. They can read about what life was once like there, and not so long ago—before it was discovered by the off-islanders with all their money.

  6. Elizabeth L. Johnson said,
    Title of book by Mr. Littlefield, please. Where can I purchase?