It has been a couple of tough weeks for sleep. Full moon, being sick, stressed, whatever. Tonight it's the wind. We are on the same side of the jet stream as the deep south and far west right now, the warm, moist side that means it is above freezing here with brown grass all around while my folks in Vermont have three feet of snow and are on their third week of a single-digit cold snap. I'll be tired tomorrow but late-night clarity and time to write, to listen to music, actually listen, as opposed to putting it on for a few minutes in the car. Time to put on the good headphones. I'm bouncing all over my collection, as shown by the "Now Playing" feed I've added over on the left side.
It's all Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: The bills are paid for another month, I can breathe through my nose again and I'm not dog-tired, so music creeps in, I think of the resonator guitar in the case upstairs, spared the eBay squall I went through more than a year ago when we were really broke. Needs strings, I'm sure, and I need practice. I can make the chords but don't remember the names or the songs right now. And after the music comes back? Any number of blank books with poems written into the first five or so pages. Harmonicas get the dust blown out of them. Conversations with Kate turn to the literary and the theoretical.
But tonight it's the wind keeping me up. It bent the screen door open again and the streetlights flicker in the bare branches. I'd stay up all night if it wasn't for work, but Kate is restless upstairs, half asleep knowing I'll come to bed eventually and toss and turn for an hour. Ishmael is curled on the futon. The dishes are done but putting them away would be too noisy right now. I've read all the news I care to for now. Good night until tomorrow, then.
I'm not actively blogging here anymore. But if you got here because you were searching for something about bikes, you might want to check out my latest project, Vermont Goldsprints. In summer of 2014, I bought a used goldsprints racing setup and have made it a mission to get more bikes in more people's faces by putting on fun races in unexpected places. Come join me!
Kate and Ben and I got out for an afternoon in the woods today. We were going to go up the Ravine Trail from Grant Creek Road, but we got a half mile in and it became apparent that the entire trail was sheer ice, a result of its popularity and the fact that any snow on the trail had been packed down by a winter's worth of footsteps. We headed down the highway and up into the Rattlesnake, up to the Sawmill Gulch trailhead. Sawmill Gulch must have been the site of an old ranch. There are a few foundations and drinking troughs in the old meadow. There were no fresh tracks on the trail we took, and only one other car at the trailhead. Of course, this might have been because the last mile to the trailhead was all ice, with rivers of meltwater coursing over the ice all the way up. We hiked through the old meadows and up the side to the top of the ridge, where we could have looked back down into the Grant Creek drainage had there not been so much fog coming up out of the trees. The snow was sublimating, evaporating right into the air without melting first. It was fairly warm but not sunny. Mostly, it was nice to get outside at all. I had been pretty sick the whole week before, and Kate was sick for the week and a half before that. The weather has been pretty crappy, and my workload has increased substantially since Christmas. In part, that is a blessing. I'm working harder and enjoying that work more than I ever have. But it takes a toll on my free time and ability to do other creative projects. I hope as the weather and my health improve I'll be able to get more done. This upcoming week will be another great one. I'll be up in Seeley Lake, a rural community about 55 miles from here, on Monday, I'll be working hard all week for the county, and I'll be at REI Wednesday and Friday nights, as well as all day Saturday. With any hope, we'll be back out hiking next Sunday.
I got a call from Jesse the other night and it was the first time we've spoken since June, and when we spoke in June it was for 30 seconds because I was at work when he called. Before that, it was at the wedding a year and a half ago. The last time I saw him, he wasn't a father yet, and now he's father to a 15-month old son. Ryan (pictured 11 years ago here along with Jesse and I) will be a father soon too, if he isn't already, and has also married since the last time I saw him. I dug up this photo for Aaron, whose wife is collecting photos from our track days. Yeah, his wife who I've never met and his child I've never met either, both new things since I last saw him. Peter and Lance? Fathers as well. Nick and Deanna? Parents. Who knows how many other significant events in the lives of my good friends I've missed. Like all calls from good friends, though, the call from Jesse was as if we saw each other yesterday. We talked about running, about sailing, about getting out and up and about the chance we could see each other when they come out to Yellowstone next summer. We talked about doing some hiking. We fell into the conversation as easily as it was every time we got on a boat together, where there never even needed to be words at all. We read the wind and the sails the same way and I remember an early evening on the Comet in Shelburne Bay when probably five words passed between us for two hours. So thanks, Buddy, for reaching out and for calling me back even though I missed your call two days before. I get into work, into life, into paying the bills and taking care of the stuff in front of my nose, and it is so intuitive and easy to do that. To all my friends out there: I know I haven't called, I barely write, and I haven't been home and I've missed a couple of births and weddings and times when some of us were back in Vermont. I kind of flung Kate and I out here a year and a half ago and it has had some unintended consequences. I'll be home this summer for sure, for my sister's wedding. I hope to see everybody I can. I hope to get myself into the financial position where a cross-country flight between two third-tier airports isn't so prohibitive. I miss all of you. I look at my wedding photos and realize I never had any idea moving out here meant that was the last time I'd see people in such a long time. This place has been so good for me in so many ways, and so terribly challenging in others. I haven't made the return to poetry and music I predicted, yet. I'm getting there, getting toward so many things, or back to them. Yet, that same returning concept has changed for me. You can't go back. You can go there physically, you can go in up to your chest at Circle Current on the New Haven River, but the water isn't the same water that cooled a case of beer five years ago, it isn't the same water you plunged into in the middle of the night, it isn't the same water that shocked you awake in May and barely cooled you at all in August, but it runs the same courses. It isn't just that I can't write the poems or listen to the music or be with the friends and community I once had again- they are the water that ran down valley, into Lake Champlain, north to the Saint Lawrence Seaway and out into the Atlantic and across to England and Denmark. They, like that water from a decade ago, are in innumerable places, coursing in new stream beds and blowing away in clouds that formed yesterday and will disappear tomorrow. But there's something else, a sub-atomic memory the water carries of that river channel on that one day that we all carry with us as well, that can be brought back at the sound of a voice or the turning of a photo or the chance meeting again anywhere in the world. That's what the phone calls and emails and all of that are- it isn't sentimentality or nostalgia, it is a incremental awakening of quantum parts of who we all are and of what we value. I miss you guys, and we'll never be the same again, not even between today and tomorrow, but I'd get on a boat with any one of you tomorrow knowing that nothing in particular would have to be said.