Always for Dad

I am 24 hours or so from going into the Catskill Mountains and climbing to the 3,573-foot summit of Indian Head Mountain in honor of my Dad. Tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of the day he left this world and I hear Indian Head is one of the tougher climbs. I’m scared, but I’m game.

This morning the sun is out, comforting in its presence. I am listening to a gentle duet between piano and cello and I am feeling love for the world I am in, a kind of gentleness aimed at everyone, even those I don’t like. I’m not sure where this comes from and am not inclined to figure it out lest that effort lose me the moment I’m in. My smiling mind drifts from place to place, my writer’s mind not caring what others might think of these pastel, peace-loving sentences. Those that might cringe in their presence are probably most in need of them.

This morning too I find myself thinking of Billy Damrow, my first childhood friend in my heart (we were able to safely confess our love of books to each other) and Sarah S, a woman I once loved and love and hope is well. Like so many of us, her history wounded her so badly she could not, at the time anyway, experience herself for being the truly extraordinary person she was and, I have little doubt, still is.

Why does my mind center on these people today? I don’t have any idea. It just does.

As for tomorrow’s climb, let me say I’ve read up on it. There is another summit near Indian Head and it is said some hikers like to bag both peaks in one day, so, of course, I’m pondering that possibility. I am just getting back into shape and there is a well worn and highly accurate piece of training guidance that says when you are getting back into shape don’t let your head get ahead of your body. I’ll have to watch that.

I am expecting the beginning of tomorrow’s hike to be similar to the recent Kaaterskill climb. The horrors will hit early and hard, but the hell with’m. I’ll keep going anyway – for Dad. Always for Dad.

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