Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Heard that the Cold is Comin'

This is New England and the meteorologists are revving up for the winter. Cold cold temperatures are predicted. The real feel is stressed—and that will be much lower than the actual temperature.

Why has New England fallen under the spell of the local weather forecasters? They are our seers—dispensing tales of horrific possibilities in winter and blistering days during the summer. They live for the highs and lows and lull us into belief.

"You can see the snow coming at us. " "We're watching those weekend storms. We'll keep you posted."

"Temperatures continue to tumble." "A shot of cold air." "Area of low pressure is moving ." "Gale warning tonight." "Sunday a storm is approaching us—we have to watch and see how it materializes. We have to watch it closely."

I think that these birds listened to tonight's weather report and panicked.

Monday, November 26, 2007


I looked for the photo because my phone rang this afternoon and someone said —"Are you..."

I hadn't seen or spoken to Miriam for decades.

Over the years I’ve recalled this trip. It took some convincing to assure someone who had never hiked that she would love hiking up Little Stony Man Cliffs—really a large rocky hill. We had five children between us—I took this photo when we all reached the top. With a successful first ascent everyone was up for another foray. We selected Dark Hollow Falls and hiked down until we found a calm, shallow pool.

But, with little warning and a sky that changed and darkened we altered our plans. The rain started quickly—no drizzle first, just sheets of pelting rain. We found some sort of shelter under a protruding rock. No one complained because this fell under the rubric of adventure. Finally the rain stopped and we walked back to the parking lot—bedraggled, wet and a little chilled. It seemed like the best plan included hot chocolate and dry clothes.

Because this was a day hike and the weather prediction was for fair weather we didn’t pack any extra clothes. We headed for the camp store and purchased a Shenandoah shirt for everyone and then found the laundry and dried shorts and socks. I recall that Miriam and I still had wet clothes—I took off my clothes, stayed in the bathroom while Miriam dried my clothes and then she took her turn in the stall. With all of us in a quasi dry-to-dry state we headed for the promised hot chocolates.

My memory of the day is so clear, but I wonder what—if any part of the day—each of the other people in the photo recalls.

“Do you remember the day at Shenandoah?”
“Yes,” say Miriam. “We bought everyone a tee-shirt.”

A City Perspective

I grew up in a city, lived in an apartment building, traveled subways, walked miles and miles on urban streets and I always need to return to the city— if only to order an inner compass. I don’t enjoy vacationing in cities and can’t tolerate the maze of traffic. When I travel I want to find new paths, canyon orange and hiking trails.

When I go into the city it’s because it taps into familiar territory. We lived in an apartment building snuggled between two other apartment buildings. At the end of the block we had a real butcher shop where my grandmother bought her chickens.

In East Cambridge there’s a wonderful butcher shop that advertises Fresh Killed Chickens.

In suburbia no one paints murals on the side of a building. Walk around Cambridge or Somerville and brick walls make great canvases. In my Bronx neighborhood there were always the graffiti artists with their bubble letters forming personal tags.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Tributaries —paths you take.
Ever wonder about the paths you've chosen or the ones you decided to ignore?