First On The Water

4-24-2018

In an effort to exercise and strengthen my wrist, and to exercise my long suffering extended winter blues demons, I took a kayak over to North South Lake. I haven’t been there since Winter Solstice when I hiked to Palenville Overlook in the frozen snow. The lake was starting to freeze over at that point. I knew it had to be clear now that it had been sunny and warm, and all the little ponds and creeks in the area are ice free. There is still some snow in the low shadowy places in the woods, and up at the higher elevations, but for the most part we are down to brown bare ground. Muscle memory and physics got me into the boat without even getting my feet wet and then propelled me across the water. Rhythmic paddle strokes back and forth, wind blowing my hat over my face, sun glaring off the water momentarily blinding me in the kindest way. Freedom is the open water, a kayak bow pointing toward distant mountains propped against a bright blue sky, a solitary paddler first on the water. I paddled until my body ached in that glorious way muscled do when they are worked with joyous intentions. I floated, let the stiff sharp breeze push my little floating craft across the surface and into shore. I basked in the sunshine warm on my skin, smelled the wet earth smell of a lake coming back to life after a long cold winter, watched mergansers, ducks, and geese swimming, paddling furiously through the choppy water. I become a small part of this awakening lake, immersed in the rhythm of spring, entwined in the fabric of Mother Nature’s radiant web. After the splendid paddle, when I got back to my car, a wondrous random thing happened. I ran into an old rafting friend (and her boyfriend) who I had not seen in a couple of years. It just happened to be her birthday; they had travel to the Catskills for a couple of days of birthday getaway. So I invited them over to my house for an impromptu birthday cookout. Our first cookout of the year! We sat on the porch eating burgers and talking as the sky clouded over and the sun set. It is truly a remarkable and sublime world we live in.

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Maple Fest

3-18-2018

Today a friend came over and the three of us went over to Shaver Hill for their annual NY Maple Days Maple Fest pancake breakfast. YUM!!!!!!!! We go ever year. All you can eat pancakes, breakfast sausage patties, and pure freshly made maple syrup. It has been so cold this spring so far that they were not actually boiling this weekend, but the breakfast is held in the boiling room snuggled around the giant industrial evaporator. They set up a tasting table as well where you can sample all their new and traditional maple products and maple infusions. It is mega-maple morning! Delicious!

Tea With A Friend

3-6-2018

I contacted a rafting friend who lives in Albany, and went over to see him today after my radiation appointment. It was a pleasant day, mostly sunny and warmer than it has been. He took me to his favorite tea and sandwich shop in downtown Albany where we met another friend and had tea and sandwiches. There is a small park across the street from the cafe where most of the snow has melted so we sat at a picnic table in the sun to eat watching all the people walk by in their business suites and professional clothes. It was blissful to sit in the warm sun (although the breeze off the river was a little chilly) and talk and eat and sip warm strong tea. I do like to people watch and today was a good day for it. Of course seeing old friends again after a long while makes you feel warm and cozy inside too. I didn’t want to leave, but time doesn’t stand still and they had other obligations to meet. Today was a happy day with cheerful tea and a pleasant company.

Barefoot In The Snow

12-10-2017 Magic Moment:

I have a (what some people might think is a bit crazy) tradition of going (ever so briefly) barefoot in the snow. When the mood strikes me, usually only once a season and usually early on in the season before the ground is frozen solid. When there is the right amount of snow; more than a dusting but not more that a few inches deep, I like to plant my bare feet into the freezing fluffy white stuff. Sometimes I run around the yard, or sometimes just stand still until the aching cold becomes too painful to endure. I then run back inside and warm my feet up by the fire

I think this tradition originated in college. I was a little Florida girl going to school in the mountains of West Virginia. On the first snow fall of the first winter, I woke in my dorm room at dawn, through the window saw the fresh snow on the ground, excitedly jumped out of bed and ran outside into the commons wearing nothing but my night gown. I ran through the grass in my bare feet joyfully shouting “It’s Snowing!”. Groggy angry yells from other dorm rooms of “Shut up!” greeted my jubilation. I ran to the neighboring dorm to tell my best friend. She, having grown up in a suburb of DC was less than enthusiastic when I cam bustling into her room full of exuberance over the snow. Her reply was had words like messy, sloppy, slippery, cold, wet, and go back to sleep in it. Undaunted, I ran back outside and frolicked, quietly this time, in the snow until my brain finally realized that snow was indeed, wet, cold, and slippery. My bare feet were numb and walking was difficult up the stairs back to my room where I took a long hot shower to thaw out.

This morning, the mood struck, and I stepped out onto the snow dusted porch in my bare feet. They screamed at the cold abuse. Knowing I would not be satisfied with just the snow on the porch I walk down the stair to the yard. Standing there, the burning cold penetrating the very core of my feet, gazing up into the low grey sky, snow flakes landing on my face, I could smell the living smell of cold wet earth, the smell of earthy cold wet snow falling onto dead leaves, and bare branches. Birds are chattering in the trees along the road, the creek is burbling down the hill, and a snow plow is rumbling in the distance. The intense coldness numbing my feet brought on a memory so strong, it felt like it was actually happening. I was standing on the put in ramp for the first rafting trip of the season, knee deep in snow, neoprene covered feet already frozen numb before we even get to the water, early spring rapids roaring in the distance through the still leafless forest. I breath deeply, wet cold air energizing my lungs and snap back to here and now. Got to get these frigid tootsies back inside!

Back To Work!

12-9-2017 Magic Moment:

Once again, I get ready for work and head over to the ski slope. Yes, it is really the first day of work this time! Walking into the Children’s Center, it’s good to see everybody again and get my work station all set up. We don’t have very many rentals today, so I hang up all the giant glitter snowflake decorations I made last year, spreading glitter cheer literally everywhere. I also have to recreate and re-save the forms I use for keeping track of all the kids and gear from day to day as them seem to have been wiped from the computer over the summer. I show my new technician how to set up the skis and how to use and read the settings chart. I eventually make the rounds, heading over the HR to day Hi and to Special Events to talk about this season’s snowshoeing schedule. This first days are never very busy so it’s home early for me! Not having actually worked in over three months, I am ready to go home. It’s nice to be able to ease into the season, Christmas break is coming and that will be crazy busy! Today was a good day for going back to work!

Back To Work! (Not)

11-25-2017 Magic Moment:

Back to work today! I haven’t worked since September 3 when I left North Creek not realizing then it was my last day of rafting season for the year. So, I’m a little excited for ski season to begin. Up early, get ready for work, did my hair, and even put on sparkle eye shadow! Looking forward to setting up my work station and going through the equipment. When I walk into the children’s center, it is too quiet. Only my boss and one other employee and no kids… Although the main trail is open, there is no snow in the terrain garden or on the bunny hills. Uh, oh… That’s right! No ski lessons for small children today! No rentals needed, no rental tech needed either. Oh well. I unpack my Adirondack Moose coffee mug, the mooing cow noise maker, my don’t stress guy stress ball, and fill my drawer with snacks and decaffeinated tea bags. So I hang out and gab with my boss, talk about what my work schedule will be once I’m actually working. Then I go over to HR and get my very first employee season ski lift pass ever! I’ve never gotten one before because I don’t enjoy downhill skiing. The few times I’ve tried I’ve just used a day ticket. Since I will also be doing snow shoe guiding this year I will need a lift ticket every weekend! So I got the season pass. I can’t wait! (but I guess I’ll have to). So although I didn’t work today, it was productive, and my husband and I got to go check out a local annual Holiday craft fair and see some old friends there instead!

Healing Love

10-12-2017 Magic Moment:

I was feeling scared (and sorry for myself) and decided it was time to tell my friends about being diagnosed with breast cancer. Of course in this day and age, Facebook is the easiest way to let everybody you know in on your life events, (big and small). I was completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and positive thoughts that friends new and old sent me. I felt empowered to face this crisis with strength and courage. A little bit healing love goes a long way. Thank you!