Stirred from its subterranean slumber in the frenchified regions of northern New England, the waters of the Connecticut River arose, staggered around a little, passed the Green Mountains on its right, the White Mountains on its left, and, as if it could do nothing without its morning cup of coffee, went straight to the Epiphany Cafe. The River didn’t stop for Emily Dickenson in Amherst, it didn’t shoot hoops at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, or linger to light a cigar with Mark Twain in Hartford. It was on a mission for some caffeine.
Halfway down the state of Connecticut, the River did something rivers never do. It had a broad, fertile, populous valley directly in front of it. It could have taken this easy path, discharged into a good harbor at New Haven, and become as famous as the Hudson; but, no; it took an inexplicable left hand turn and cut through some granite hills, willing to flow uphill if needed, so that it could get its double shot of espresso latte.
Many have commented on the mad path the River took back into the hills, but, to my mind, have not come up with a satisfactory explanation. The original inhabitants, no doubt, had a story that may have involved trickery or a giant turd falling from the sky to divert its course. At any rate, the explanation is lost, a causality of the Pequot Wars. We are only left with what the geologists say, something about glaciers, to justify the River’s irrational behavior. I think my coffee idea is as sound as any because I know how good it is at the Epiphany Cafe.
To be accurate, the River does not come straight through the door of the cafe and wait patiently in line at the counter for the Lisping Barista to take its order. If the River came in, no other customers would be able to keep their feet dry; therefore, it courteously passes a few miles away and asks the inhabitants of the little town of Kenilworth to get it some take out.
The townspeople are so accustomed to unusual occurrences that they think nothing of it. A nearby caffeine addicted river is just the start of it. The forests in and surrounding Kenilworth are teaming with fairies, ghosts, and other magical beings to such a degree that it’s commonplace. There are known ghosts that go back to colonial times, four hundred years; and unnamed ghosts older than that. There are fairies behind every rock, and there are plenty of rocks in Connecticut. There are ogres under every bridge, and every place a road meets a stream there is a bridge. Even the trees, of which there are as many as rocks, will stand and wave as you pass by. Despite the abundance of evidence, few in Kenilworth will acknowledge it’s an enchanted place. They keep their heads down into their tablets and mistake the mystical for routine.
For instance, immediately after the Lisping Barista astonishingly said yes to the Geeky Guy, a low, rumbling sound could be heard from the hills across the River. The coffee itself got jittery. The cups rattled, all the newcomers to the region sat up straight and looked for an exit, but the natives of Kenilworth barely missed a keystroke. The Lisping Barista revealed she was not from around here.
“What wa’that?” she asked.
The Geeky Guy attempted to reassure her. “That’s just the Moodus Noises,” he said, as if that explained anything. He went on to talk about unusual seismic activity, tectonic plates, and the verities of the Richter scale. It was just one of those things that could be fully explained by science if we knew the explanation. Nothing to be afraid of.
I believe the very foundations of the earth shifted when the Lisping Barista said yes to the Geeky Guy.