Friday, August 22, 2008

Hi. I'm new here.

I'm not feeling terribly creative or writer-ly but there are some fun things:

The new new stuff:

1. I've enrolled in a college course exploring the ecology of VT Rivers and Streams. It was strange to be in the "new student" roll again. Exciting and intimidating. I mean it's been, what, 16 years since I enrolled at Fredonia State College? I had to find proper parking and the admin. office. I had to use the computer lab and have someone walk me through the log-in procedure. I had to meet with an advisor, I had to order a text book. Walking through the school's hallways and looking into classrooms brought back the excitement and nervousness I'd always feel heading back to school each September. Will I be the same kind of student I was 12-16 years ago? I barely remember that person.

2. Today I started volunteering at our local co-op market. I used a price gun and stocked shelves for the first time since I worked at CVS 13 years ago or so. I just this second remembered the horror I felt while being shown around CVS on my first shift and my manager telling me, "We keep the guns right here under the counter". This was in tiny, rural Boston, NY with one stop light and I couldn't imagine we needed guns at the front counter. I mean, no one had even heard of Oxycontin yet! The guns were for pricing items. (Wow...back before everything was scanned. I'm gettin' old!) I didn't even know that memory was lodged back there in the ol' synapse soup!

3. Yesterday I hiked Mt. Washington for the first time. I've been saving George for the "perfect" day. Yesterday was that day. Mid-70s at the trail head, light breeze, sun predicted all day. The weather on Mt. Washington doesn't get better than that. Up until yesterday I'd hiked 15 of the 48 peaks over 4000 feet with friends who needed them for their "lists", none of them because my own hiking sensibilities took me there. In the Whites I've been a follower. I don't remember trail names, I don't remember distances or details. I just show up and hike. It's fun. But I didn't want to hike Mt. Washington like that for some reason. I didn't want to follow someone else's lead up the tallest mountain in New England. I also wanted to hike it for the first time via the most challenging trail, Huntington Ravine. Tons of scrambling, but not technical climbing, is required to make it up. The trail gains 650' of elevation in just .3 (that's three tenths!) of a mile. Overall the hike gains about 4250' of elevation over a distance of just a little over four miles.

4. Worms!!!! Beautiful, healthy, robust worms! In my compost pile, that is. I turned it over this week and wanted to run around the neighborhood to gather everyone to look at the gorgeous worms doing their wormy decomposing, aerating thing. But, I didn't because they may not understand the joy. My mom does, though, and it's for her that I've included it in this post.

New Old Stuff:

1. Since about December some very good friends of mine have been having major medical issues. One with type B, stage IV Lymphoma; the other discovering she needed major abdominal surgery and in lots of discomfort prior to getting the needed operation. These are two of my favorite hiking and hanging out friends of the past four years. Suddenly we weren't going on adventures or making plans. Instead we were awaiting diagnoses, scan results, biopsies. Then we waited through treatment plans and recovery. (Of course, as the non-sick person, I wasn't really doing anything, just lots of waiting and worrying and listening and stuff like that.) Several weeks ago we finally all were together for a party to celebrate some birthdays and the end of chemo for Nancy. All scans and tests indicate that Nancy's cancer is gone and has a very low chance of relapse. Meri is doing great after her major surgery and is back to hiking and kayaking on a regular basis. This party was the first time the majority of the "crew" were together all at once in ages. Pure joy.

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