I am what is known as ON VACATION. That is to say, we piled the kids in the car and drove east for many hours to the state of Vermont. You can see by the way that word is spelled that it refers to “Green Mountain.” That is roughly where we are: in the Green Mountains, outside a little town called Ludlow, within striking distance of a score of impossibly quaint towns, untouched by the homogeny of franchised commerce. There are still independent bookstores. I Have Not Seen a “McDonalds” in quite some time.
I will tell you something that did happen. But first I am compelled to note that as a bicycle commuter without a job, I have fallen out of my commuting routine, which means I am not nearly in the physical condition I was in at this time last year. So I set out on a ride of 30 or so miles yesterday morning, which ought to be no problem even in my state of atrophied lungs and legs–except that the last leg of the journey –a ten mile jaunt from the old Felchville Lime Kiln directly west to the town of Tyson–crosses a mountain ridge the map refers to as “The Alps.”
This is not a lie. I crossed the Alps yesterday. But I did so only with enormous difficulty. Last year I more or less scampered up this stretch of pavement. This year at one point I actually had to stop and get off my bike to rest. I did not walk up the mountain, mind. I simply rested for a moment before getting back on to complete the ascent. Still, it was devastating to my psychological well-being. I have not dismounted my bike on a hill since I was a small child attempting to climb the Shepherd Road Hill up out of the Cleveland Metroparks. It was made only slightly less depressing by the fact that these are indeed mountains, and they are indeed called “The Alps.” And there are indeed a couple of brutally steep parts.
Meanwhile, “vacation” has afforded me the time to complete The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, which is the book designated for Lakewood, Ohio’s “Big Read,” which I will tell you about eventually. And I began Steve Martin’s “An Object of Beauty,” on loan and at the recommendation of Liz Maugans. What an incredibly diversified talent that Steve Martin is. And I caught several pan fish: perch, crappies, and bluegill. And so did my daughter Grace and my son Eliot.
That is my story for now. It’s time to get back on my bike and continue my vacation. I hope you enjoy the next six days or so as much as I expect that I will.