Saturday, May 17, 2008

Stinky mood, stinky shoes

I'm visiting my Mom while she's at a wool spinning workshop in the Catskills. We're staying at a place called the Winter Clove Inn and it's sort of a 1960s version of the "all-inclusive" family vacation. Three Better Homes & Gardens style meals a day, creaking floors & doors, thin walls, no phones, no TVs (hooray), tennis court, shuffleboard, pools, porches, hiking trails, small golf course, bowling alley. Yes, bowling alley. Ah, the charms of an old Catskill Hotel. The broad front porch is decked out with rocking chairs, wicker love seats and barn swallows swooping up to the porch rafters to feed babies. I'm currently swatting blackflies away at an ever increasing rate. The large snoring man to my left woke up and went inside. A depressed Basset Hound to my right ceased his own snoring about the same time and wandered around the porch whimpering a little.

Damn these bugs. I'm going back inside.

All day yesterday I couldn't shake off an intense sadness. The kind of sadness that revolves around feeling terribly lonely but not actually wanting to be near anyone. Everything made me feel like crying. The people passing me on Interstate 90, the train cars loaded with logs stopped on the Castelton-on-Hudson bridge 100 feet or more above the river, the grand old Catskill hotels past their prime, thinking about hugging my mom, thinking about saying goodbye to all my clients and my coworkers, the absolute quietness after settling into our hotel room. I hovered on the verge of tears all day and never once had a good cathartic cry.

I've been longing for quiet. I feel like everywhere I go there is noise. Cars zooming, planes overhead, people talking, me talking, music, road noise in my car. Last night after I got here I sat on the bed and wrote, long hand, in my personal journal. It's been a long time since I've done that and I guess I forgot how important that is for me. I listened to the rain fall through the delicate spring leaves outside, to my pen moving across the paper and to my breathing.

Today greeted me with a blue sky and a perfect breeze. The first thing I did today was run through the fields with a coon hound racing along with me. It felt so good to run, uphill, fast, racing the dog. He tore around the field in joyful, spastic circles. Then I climbed up into an old tree house that creaked eerily as the support branches moved with the wind. I ate a breakfast of cream-of-wheat and banana then walked through the Catskill woods to Winter Clove Falls. I came over a small rise and a couple of deer and I startled each other. Being scared by a bounding deer always feels about as silly as being jumped by a Ruffed Grouse. As often happens with deer, their curiosity got the better of them and they didn't run very far away. Soon they came slowly back in my direction sniffing the air and watching me watch them. I talked to them about the bugs and if they had seen any bears. I happened to be wearing my t-shirt with the scary bear design on it and told them not to be afraid, I wasn't really a bear. The deer and I crossed paths again around the next curve in the trail. For a moment it seemed like we were all on the hike together. Like instead of walking a dog, I was out walking the deer.

Is my sadness gone? Honestly, not really. But that's okay, it doesn't seem as deep today and I'm getting lots of quiet time alone which helps me sort through it better. Moving, running, listening to the woods, observing nature around me, not being obligated to talk to other people is the perfect prescription to counteract my sadness.
You know it's time to get rid of your favorite shoes when you're aware of your own icky hiking shoe smell wafting up from your feet when ever you've had them on for a little while. Warm, stinky, shoe smells rise. But, I love them. Now I really am gonna cry.

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