Sunday, January 4, 2009

Northern Exposure

I went North this weekend, to the calming silence of the Adirondaks in Winter with their endless crags of snowy firs, sub zero temperatures and crunching snow. Not a fan of winter sports save occasional cross country skis, my intention was to catch a quick respite with an old friend in a short sojourn to the nether zone. My friend Karen's camp, nestled among lakes and peaks, welcomed us with warm wooden floors and the loving arms of its overstuffed chairs. By the fire, we spoke of many things--we are alter egos since school days, so much alike, yet chose different paths. She is wife, widow, mother and grandmother; I'm a writer, activist, consultant and golden retriever owner who preferred travel to toddlers, fox hunts to soccer and yoga to dogma--yet we share so much in common. Love of friends, family, country; road trips, beaches, and memories of childhood in mid-20th century America. We are like most Americans everywhere. We crave peace, love, balance and human rights.

As we walked through the little town of Old Forge [Snowmobile Central], the sound of snow, crunching under tires and Sorelled feet suddenly reminded us that we hadn't heard that sound in a long time, just as we hadn't seen roads covered with blowing, drifting snow. Winter in the Hudson Valley was different back then, and here in Central New York it never left. These days, all traces of snow leave the day after storms, and snow dunes are a thing of the past. It warms up so quickly now that the snow rarely stays for long, let alone get cold enough to crunch.

The phone at the camp is an old black desk phone with a DIAL. As I made a phone call, I wondered how long it had been since I'd even SEEN a dial phone, let alone used one. [It worked fine, by the way]. It took a minute to remember where the numbers were but I managed to dial correctly and connect to my party just as quickly as with touch tone. I don't remember thinking it took forever to dial a number back then but now, in today's busy world, the pause between lightening dial of pad and ring at the other end seems an eternity, and if the power goes out, I'm stuck with the cell, if the battery's charged.

It was truly a post card weekend, replete with frost painted windows, snow drifts and sub zero air. We recalled the days of rear wheel drive cars slipping sideways on snowy roads: front- and all wheel drive, separate heating controls, and in-glass defrost were unheard of back then. The well- prepared made do with tire chains and for awhile we had studded tires for winter, which had to be removed by April 15 lest they skid on dry pave or tear up the roads. If we went into a ditch we hiked to a house and called someone to pull us out. We didn't have cell phones or Garmins because they didn't exist. But we survived, with pay phones and road maps, blissfully ignorant of our peril.

As we move into 2009, trepidation and uncertainty rule with each new rant on economic, political and military strife. Warnings of shortages abound and gun stores report record sales. It may well be that we are headed for a period of reckoning and rebalance that will test our mettle and press our collective edge, but I have no doubt that we will survive to triumph in better shape than ever. We have become a society both blessed and cursed with convenience, but we are not without resources when we're pushed to a test.

Today at Insight Analytical Grail Guardian observed,
“…We are lazy. We don’t demand that our “leaders” do anything for us, just that they talk about it. We don’t bother to dig into the facts or do research, we vote for the candidate our party and/or the Male Stream Media tells us to vote for.”

Brava, Grail. It is time we realized that, and time we took action. You, along with countless others, are leading the charge to inform with facts instead of fantasy and hold leaders and media accountable.

We are faced with challenge, the like of which we've not seen since the Great Depression, and, in fact, things being what they are now, what lies ahead may be even worse. But we can take this opportunity to stop and think, to regroup and re evaluate and remind ourselves that we are capable of much more than we think. We need to remember that we are a lot stronger, smarter, and resourceful than we realize. We are Americans, whose destiny was forged by our Constitution and our inherent desire to be individuals. We have forgotten the Daniel Boone who purportedly said that when he could see the smoke of his neighbors' fire it was time to move on. We forget that there are still places where pieces of the Santa Fe Trail are visible, and that we are all descendants of pioneers of one sort or another. We are still pioneers; we can draw courage and inspiration from all that have passed before us, and remember that rarely do we find our edge these days unless something forces us toward it. We can celebrate the positives and we can follow the example of those like Grail, Insight, Logistics Monster and all the other brave warriors who daily fight for their country and its principles. We can remember that in unity, we are not alone, and that in numbers, we can accomplish great things.


  1. Hi, what's up??? been out all AM and have another appt. now... 2pm MT...


  2. Hi Insight, click on my contact link to the right of the winking puma--I'll email you back!


  3. Update, January 25th: It appears that those days of protracted cold are once again with us, providing us with some of the coldest winter weather we've seen in many years! So much for reminiscing...past continues to be prolog!