Sunday, September 27, 2015

Let the Journey Begin

  Colorado was never the end game for me, I had originally set my sites on Big Sky, Montana. A very good friend of ours from Albany had moved to Montana. We had written letters back and forth and I liked what he was about. So Montana was the goal, and the West was the way. There was no consideration of traveling by car or by bus. Hitchhiking was only the way. Besides people where freer then and would often stop and take you for a great distance, if they were going somewhere. I was a climber or at least so I fancied myself as one. I had purchased a big heavy pair of leather hiking boots with Vibram soles. Heavy gripping rubber for climbing on rocks and a rather large green backpack. It was a Tough Traveller. Frameless because I was never a big fan of frame back packs. They were too bulky and rigid, took up too much room and never conformed to a space. I would not conform but my pack had to. The key to having new climbing boots is that you have to wear them everywhere. I would wear mine to parties, social events, and generally all around town. If I wasn't a climber with pitons and ropes and clips and rings, I was going to at least look and act the part of one. Willing to tell any one I was that I was heading to the mountains. We had just ended our lease on our cabin at Thompson's Lake in the Helderberg's and I could not face another winter in Albany, New York. I was determined to get to Big Sky. So on and uneventful morning I said my goodbyes to my friends and my poor Mom who worried for my future and lit out on the road. I never thought of myself as a writer then. I was and adventurer off on a new adventure. A skier in search of the next big mountain and the deeper snows. I had already used up all of the Adirondacks, Catskills, Berkshires, Green Mountains and White Mountains. There was simply no place with steeper mountains and deeper snows than the West. Visions of endless wide open snowfields with untouched virgin powder danced in my mind and filled my days and nights until I could no longer resist the call of the open road. So along with some heavy winter clothes I stuffed my copy of Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman into my pack and was gone. My favorite route west was not the Thomas E Dewey, Thruway as you might expect. I had always been partial to old Route 6 leaving Albany through Cherry Valley and west. My grandfather had grown up on a farm in western New York State and had often taken me there to visit his mom and his cousins. We had always driven Route 6 stopping at the towns and sightseeing along the way. My sister Linda and brother - in law John operated a cash crop farm there. I worked there for a summer in between College Semesters. It was during the early 70's. Farming was a bit too remote and also very time consuming. It gave me a great appreciation for their love of the land and the struggles of an individual family farm. I thought you would have better odds if you were a gambler in Los Vegas.

   My most memorable trip to the family farm came when I was fourteen. My Uncle Buzzy, (Verne my grandfather's name) worked at a car dealership in Albany and had purchased a new 1964 Thunderbird. It was copper tone and it was a convertible. What was so unique about his car, was that when you put down the top. You would raise the trunk which opened front to back and the top of the car would disappear into the trunk and then you would lower the trunk. I thought this was the coolest thing ever. On this particular trip, just outside of Albany, my Uncle pulled to the side of the road and motioned for me to drive. I had arrived at manhood for sure. Was I not the coolest kid in the world? Driving a brand new copper tone thunderbird with the top down with one hand on the wheel, through the peaks and valleys of route 6 & 20 from Albany, to Rochester, New York at 14 years old.

   This trip was my farewell bon voyage journey. I was hitchhiking with my old dog Dusty. He was a 12 year old Airedale Terrier Lab Cross and an all around mellow guy. It was a new experience for me to be hitching with a dog. The rides came easy, but when he became restless we were off on our own again on the side of the road. The actual journey could be done in a day, even if you had to get several rides. I remember making it in a long day.

   While my family thought of me as an errant Vagabond, and lectured me about saving my money and making something of myself. They were also supportive of my wanderlust and allowed me the freedom of leaving my best friend in good hands. There was no better place for my good friend than to retire to farm life.

 To Be Continued.....

A Song for the Lunar Eclipse: "Dark Side of the Moon," Pink Floyd

Friday, September 25, 2015

Celebrate the Harvest Moon.

 Celebrate the super harvest moon this weekend. On Sunday the 27th there is a rare total eclipse of the moon resulting in a blood moon. It promises to be a spectacular lunar event so be sure to catch it. You can google the Harvest Moon and learn all about the incredible celestial event happening. I tried to link it but was not able to. Don't miss the cosmic show. Hope your skies are clear!

A Song for the Event:"Nights In White Satin," The Moody Blues

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Follow Your Dreams

   When I originally thought of White Dreams, I thought it was my quest for Alpine Winter Adventures, after all the quest for steeper mountains and deeper snows was the singularly greatest drive in my life. I listened to my grandfather talk about Whiteface and Gore Mountains as a young man. He worked for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as an accountant. Along with a Southern Catskill Mountain, they were his accounts. I listened intently to his tales of these areas and the views in the winter. So much so, that every spare moment I had I went skiing in the Adirondacks and quickly moved on to bigger and greater mountains and snows. Nothing new I've covered this topic a zillion times in my writing many different ways. I have given homage to the dreams I have pursued in my stories and poetry. It has been a trip into single mindedness. A one way trail you might say.

   These days, my thoughts have focused on my writing entirely. My friends and I would often say about skiing, "If not now, when!" The time is now. I know that there is a lot of insane research that goes into a Historical Novel. The thing that attracts me the most these days is the passion. It has never diminished. It grows in strength and desire as the seasons come and go. The fall and winter have always been my greatest time of adventure and travel. The spirit is willing and as the nights grow colder and the sun shifts in the sky with the Autumnal Equinox I feel the shift and pull in my spirit and psyche. It is the the familiar feel of the beginning of a new dream and adventure. Another White Dream, this one the biggest dream I have ever dared to dream. You have got to follow your dreams or become numb and dead to the world in your staleness.

A Song about Complacency:"Comfortably Numb," Pink Floyd

A Song of Conquest: "Conquistador," Procol Harum                     

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Pied Piper

 The stories of great saints have always fascinated me. I don't remember the specific name of the particular saint that has been referenced, but I remember the story vividly. He had such a magnetic personality that when he would walk through the towns and villages that mothers would clutch their children tightly to them for fear that they would leave and follow the saint out of town. A true Pied Piper. I have had my share of egotistical complexes in my life including a Pied Piper complex. Some of the lines to my poems are "Stealing little children and filling empty auditorium seats." "Go upon the mountains my beautiful innocent children and leave the cities far behind."

    These days I follow my own Pied Piper. It happens to be a 5 lb. toy poodle, named Piper. My little Pie, Pie, Pied Piper. I am smitten and yes I do put her Sweater on in the mornings before taking her out. Yes, I do reassure her that the sweater doesn't make her Butt look big! I have found myself clearing out and cleaning my shop to install a wood stove and make room for a nice big couch and writing podium, ( I like standing and writing and typing on my computer). You see my little girl likes to be told stories. I find myself explaining long complicated things to her. It only seems fitting that I would use all avenues open to me to continue my story telling. Not to mention that I want to spend much more time at home with my beautiful wife, writing.

    My new bible is "Bullet Proof Book Proposals", by Pam Prodowsky, and Eric Neauhaus. It is finally time to move forward and to get on with the pursuit of my goals. This fall and winter instead of picking out a ski mountain or a ski town, I am going to pick out a book publisher and pursue the goal of publishing my short stories, and pursuing the goals of finishing my novels in progress and researching my historical novel.  Wish me Good Luck!
A Song for Memories "Wish You Were Here," Pink Floyd