Finding something new amid the familiar

How did I not see this before? It’s a granite marker along a trail crossing the New Hampshire-Massachusetts border, plain as day. Somehow, I had never seen this, even though I have walked this trail maybe a hundred times.

I saw that there was a knocked-over lightweight fence nearby; had that concealed the marker all these years? Or have I just not been paying attention?

Years ago, I first saw markers like these along the Wapack Trail. I noticed that the letters referred to the town I was in as I looked at the marker, not the town I was about to enter. Having spent more time on interstate highways than on trails, this surprised me, but I’ve since gotten used to it. It’s remarkable to see these markers in such good shape after more than a century.

Anyone looking at my walking history can see that there are a few paths and parks to which I return again and again. There’s a sort of comfort and ease in being someplace familiar. This marker reminds me that it’s good to stay as alert on such trails as I am on new ones. Little delights abound, if I pay attention.

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