Tuesday, December 1, 2020

"Just my imagination" and other Thanksgiving Sentiments


A decaying cottage in Catskill, NY.

Comrads in the woods.
And back at Tompkins Square Park.

We woke up early, making our way to Garrison to share some bagels and lox with Al and Panel, escaping from the city, with the teens as we've done for a dozen years now, away from unions and Occupy and grades.

Up the Palisades we drove, listening to Hole and Simon and Garfinkle, the dangling conversation extending us from last year to now; every year a different chapter, and variations on what has come.

Al dug up a pic of Caroline's great uncle in Poland, in between the Lions for the first half.

Conversations about Willie Nelson and music in Woodstock and music, family and friends, lots and lots of memories.


It wasn’t going to the usual Thanksgiving, no all-day football, no huge gatherings.


New COVID results, negative.

But the rates were only accelerating.

Mom met us in Windham, NY, in the Catskill Mountains, three hours north of the city.

Pulled out Dante's turkey and we zoomed in to friends from Miami and London, here and there, Arni and Marlene and a greeting.

That’s how we do it these days.

Drank a Wilson Cab with the crew, chatting with mom.

I turned around and girls were gone, out to the hot tub, steam rising from the water, the mountains in the distance.

Outside we all sang "Just My Imagination" by the Cranberies, keening along with

Dolores as she sang:

"There was a game we used to play
We would hit the town on Friday night
Stay in bed until Sunday
We used to be so free
We were living for the love we had
Living not for reality

Just my imagination
Just my imagination..."

Why live for reality?


I'd rather read my novels early in the morning, hot coffee in the morning.

After four years of Trump a little detoxing is in order with my friends, a little time to find our humanity, our kindness, for the writers and storytellers, for Flaubert and Faulkner.

"I think people need it - trouble" Faulkner wrote Jane Williams at the peak of their affair in 1950.

"She was like the women in romantic novels," thought Frederick in Sentimental Education. 

They help us make sense of things, the novels and regrets, the epochs of our lives, the country peace.

How many more of these vacations are ahead for us all?

No one is exactly sure.

Yet time is passing teenage girls were not teenagers when we first started these hikes.

Tom and Judy were along with us on these weekends.

Now they are elsewhere.

Up to Kaaterskill Falls we lumbered along the old embarkation, a three mile loop.

A decommissioned railroad leads us into the woods, to the waterfall.

More conversations, a Wilson Primativo, comparing notes on the dark skinned grape and its tannic.

More hot tub moments, COVID-19 rates growing.

Richard the II wondered:

"I had forgot myself, am I not a king....?


Waking in the morning the sunlight and Faulkner’s story of too much to drink, to write, to feel, unable to contain it all unless the pen was making its way across the paper.


Out we strolled through the woods along the Elm Ridge Wild Forest in the northeast corner of the Catskill Forest Preserve, taking in the sounds of the birds, the creek, the quiet reminding us.


And out to explore the town of Catskill, past Thomas Cole’s house, imaging the Hudson River School, the magic light through the valley, looking at Joy Division CD’s with the teenager applying for college, collecting bottles with Caroline.


A few crumbling homes remain there, along with thrift stores and a record store.


Another night together and then a drive back to finish the college applications, meet friends in the park in a quiet fall, chatting about the Derry Girls along the way.


Everyone flies in their own direction and back, coming together to fall apart, a lockdown on the way.  




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