Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rounding into form

I had a difficult time settling back in after the New Zealand trip back in February and early March. Great holidays always want to keep on rolling (Newton has a law about this, I think), and this was one of the very greatest. Combine that with my lifelong disinclination to get in the groove, and my aging brain’s ongoing wrestling match with the word-pile, and you get a kind of petulant dissatisfaction.

But there were bright spots.

Among other places, I’ve spent time in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Charlottesville, Virginia. Of course, plenty of time up north in New Hampshire.  And soon, off to Boothbay Harbor, Maine. 

I was in Charlottesville as a hanger-on during a reunion. I spent a lot of time there in an earlier life, and I’ve never liked it. (It’s the world center of Thomas Jefferson worship, a religion of which I’m not a communicant.) But it’s undeniably beautiful, and it was beautiful during the visit, clear, warm, and sunny, with views as long as the curvature of the earth allows. Jefferson’s Monticello overlooks the city. I’d been here often, and twice had a chance to see parts of the house that aren’t on the regular tours. I was astonished to see how vastly the presentation of the house has changed. Less Saint Thomas and more real history, including a long overdue coming to grips with the writer of the Declaration of Independence as slaveholder, including keeping as slaves some of his own children.

Here’s the “nickel” view.

In Coeur d’Alene, I wandered over Tubbs Hill a bit and had a wonderful chance encounter with a very cool man, probably in his 80s, originally from Switzerland. He was looking fit as a fiddle in his triathlon T-shirt and we talked a bit about the Alps and other mountainous parts of the world. He’d obviously spent time in some beautiful high places. We only chatted for 20 minutes or so, but it was one of those memorable passings.

Of course, there was sweet B. We’ll all celebrate her third birthday this weekend, and I'll be in Concord for a week and a bit afterward to fill in some blank spots in the parental schedule. Here are a few more shots from our walk up Waumbek.

Ritual imparting of flawed wisdom at the trailhead.

“These Pacer Poles are a trip!”

At luncheon just off the summit. Change of clothes necessitated by the usual. It’s harder in the woods.

On the summit cairn. Jasper the Wonderdog occupies the shadow between H and me.

Personal Sherpa gently carries relaxed client back down the hill.

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