Capiche? You’re on your own

We all have a choice in how we spend each day. Which, let’s face it, might well be our last.

First posted on The Berkshire Edge – APRIL 28, 2021

Alison Larkin & Berkshire Adventure Fitness

Alison Larkin, in blue jacket, with Berkshire Adventure Fitness companions.

In early 2019 I met and fell in love with Bhima Nitta, a brilliant, funny man from India who had left corporate America to devote his life to renewable energy in Bennington, Vermont. You know what your foot feels like when it’s been stuck in a shoe that is too tight and then you finally take it off and you can breathe again? That’s how being in love with Bhima felt. We were both deeply happy. Then, one week after we decided to marry, Bhima died, suddenly and unexpectedly for COVID-related reasons. He was 54.

The millions of us who have lost loved ones during this time have something in common. Without the ceremonies, hugs, and companionship that have provided human beings with solace at the loss of a loved one for centuries, we’ve had to find other ways to grieve. After a swift socially-distanced Zoom funeral, the loved one has gone and – Capiche? – suddenly we’re on our own.


After Bhima died, despite the fact that several kind be-masked friends left delicious food outside my back door, I lost 10 pounds in two weeks. It’s the only diet that has ever worked, though not one I’d recommend. But I digress.

Then I heard Bhima’s voice in my head saying “Get in the best shape of your life.”

“What for?”

“Just Do It!” the voice came back. Bhima could be quite dictatorial when he wanted to be. Mind you, so could I. It was the advice we gave each other whenever we were avoiding something challenging, sounding like an Anglo-Indian Nike commercial.

So I bought some ear pods and started running around Stockbridge missing Bhima terribly, thinking about writing again, and listening to music that I love – musicals mostly. (Sorry. I’m not hip. I’m hop.) But I wasn’t getting fit. Not really. And I was spending way too much time on my own.

Then I learned that Mike Bissaillon from CrossFit was leading outdoor training and hikes through something called Berkshire Adventure Fitness. “Say good bye to boring treadmill work and forge a heartier spirit with every adventure.” And I decided to join because it is exactly what Bhima would have done.

Every day last winter — and I mean EVERY day — in rain, snow, ice — Mike Bissaillon led an intrepid group of us into the Berkshire Hills. Dressed for all kinds of weather, we followed Mike through the Berkshire landscape like a line of ducklings.

We hiked up Lara’s Tower, Monument Mountain and Flag Rock with weights on our back. We lifted sandbags as we walked around The Housatonic flats. We did pushups and lunges at Thomas and Palmer. We still do. And while I continue to grieve, my body and spirit have started to grow stronger and I can fit into clothes I haven’t worn for years.

Not one to let me slack, while I’m scrambling up Flag Rock last week, I hear Bhima’s voice saying “Not bad. Now how about writing a new novel? And a one woman show!”

We can stay home absorbing the horrifying news, eating chocolate and hiding under our beds as we wait for the world to end. Or we can head out into the Berkshire landscape with Mike and Co., getting as fit as we possibly can. So we’re strong enough to handle whatever’s coming our way next.

We all have a choice in how we spend each day. Which, let’s face it, might well be our last.

Why don’t you join us?

Click to learn more about Berkshire Adventure Fitness.

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