Starting April, My Inner “Daimonion,” Cloud-shows

Patience!

Spring has come to the Shawangunks: sunny days, crocuses bursting from damp earth, red clouds of maple buds, pin-pricks of yellow on the forsythia canes.  There are birds everywhere: robins hopping through the grass, tufted titmouses calling out, “PETER, PETER, PETER,” red-winged blackbirds darting through the fields, swallows racing across the sky.  And from deep in the woods, spring frogs peeping away!

But reports are coming in of more snow in the Catskills, and on the drive out of the city, the distant mountain wall is deep white, flawless, flowing, molded white, white like porcelain.  Not what I’d hoped for….

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Starting April, My Inner “Daimonion,” Cloud-shows

Notes from a hike: Nightime bushwhack of Panther and Slide

Men talk glibly enough about moonshine, as if they knew its qualities very well, and despised them; as owls might talk of sunshine.

— Henry David Thoreau, “Night and Moonlight,” 1883

  • Met Alan and Amy for dinner in Phoenicia, and then the three of us proceeded to the Woodland Valley Campground.  It was 8:15 and pitch black, with rain in the forecast, which at elevation might well manifest itself as heavy sleet driven by gale-force winds, and accordingly I’d warned Alan and Amy to prepare for the worst — but they are experienced hikers and were totally unfazed.  After gearing up, we headed out on the trail in high spirits.

Continue reading “Notes from a hike: Nightime bushwhack of Panther and Slide”

Notes from a hike: Nightime bushwhack of Panther and Slide

Walden, in a Weekend

Friday evening, my nephew Nathaniel stopped by to visit during college break.  Over dinner he mentioned a course he was taking on Henry David Thoreau, the 19th century transcendentalist who had spent two years living in a cabin by the side of Walden Pond.  I had read Walden recently and appreciated Thoreau’s experiment in self-sufficiency and simple living, as well as his clever style.  I asked Nathaniel, did he think Thoreau was a nature lover or a social recluse?  Then I wondered aloud why Thoreau had left Walden after only two years.

Once dinner was over, and Nathaniel had left, I summoned Odie the Labradoodle, and we piled into the car for a weekend adventure that might, it occurred to me, share some of Thoreau’s values.  For us, self-sufficiency and simplicity would mean hiking barefoot, skipping meals, and sleeping in a lean-to.  However, instead of two years, our trip would last two days.  It would be like Walden, just in miniature.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Continue reading “Walden, in a Weekend”

Walden, in a Weekend