I think it’s autumn that keeps me in New Jersey. The heat and humidity are forgotten, and the ice and snow seem far away. It’s easy to live in the present, walk through the curled up red and yellow leaves, and kick aside even the storm clouds that bring the blessed rain to revive our parched land and half-dead bushes. Every week or so I join members of the AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club) for a hike up and down the hills of Harriman or Bear Mountain or the cliffs that abut the Hudson River. Sure, Harriman is in New York State, but close enough to qualify as my backyard. Here are a few pictures of yesterday’s seven-mile hike in the park.
- Flowering blueberry bushes
Two weekends ago I visited my friends, Carol and Ted Goodman, who moved from Morristown to Williamstown, MA. That is one beautiful community, which I had visited as a child whenever my father returned to Williams College, his alma mater. I’d move there in a minute if it weren’t so far from NYC and my family. The Goodmans have a lovely house atop a hill with a 360-degree view of the Berkshires. Who could ask for anything more? Watch for Carol’s new book, Never Lie Down, coming soon to Amazon.com.
I had a wonderful discussion with Joan Malespina at the non-fiction book club of Maplewood Library. We shared various adventure stories and she told me about Erik Weihenmayer, the blind climber who has summited Mt. Everest. He is the only blind person to have climbed the “Seven Summits,” the tallest peaks on every continent. Take a look at his website. He’s amazing!
In preparation for my November 16 departure for Sikkin, I’ve combed through Campmor and EMS, finally investing in a down sleeping bag that goes to zero (now what do I do with the other three?). With it all I’ve pared down my belongings to one duffel, one backpack, and a small daypack. It’s taken me twenty-four years to get wise. Next, I traded my humongous Canon camera for a small Nikon Coolpix P7000 that has more bells and whistles than I could use in a lifetime…but I’ll try. Add to that a small digital voice recorder and my pint-sized Sony video camera, and I’m wired to go. Expect a lot of reports along the way. The only sure dates are three weeks trekking in Sikkim with my daughters, Cary and Martha, and three more weeks in the Dharamsala area visiting Tibetan friends, the TCV (Tibetan Children Village) school in Bir, and the mountain community of Tso Pema.
A note about Sikkim. It’s the second smallest state in India (after Goa), located in the northeastern part of the country in the Himalayas. It’s nestled between Tibet and Bhutan on the east, Nepal on the west, West Bengal on the south, and China on the north. So you see I have lots of choices if I decide to jettison India. Who knows? I’ll be traveling by the seat of my pants as usual, with a return ticket on Feb. 28. Keep tuned for new developments.
My theater addiction has been drastically curtailed, but I did enjoy the hilarious English import, Alphabetical Order by Michael Frayn. You may remember two of his other hits, Noises Off and Copenhagen.
And for those of you getting on in years (tell me who isn’t?), I recommend a new book, Dare to Be 100, by Dr. Walter M. Bortz II. Hell, he’s even older than I!