That photo is 6 years old, taken just about now in another early March. To be exact: it was on our driveway, March 5, 2010. It popped up the other day thanks to that Facebook “memories” stuff. (I find I’m not “liking” that much. It keeps unexpectedly and unnervingly sharing memories of DEAD PEOPLE with me! Do you have that happen, too?)
Hard to believe this nearly “snowless winter” how that much snow does usually come down in the Catskills.
I have to say I’m enjoying not feeling compelled to write every day. The deaths of my mother and my uncle two weeks apart really knocked the wind out of me. I still can’t quite believe they are both gone.
So a break now is probably a good idea. While writing each novel I became so absorbed I was a mess for months. Partly that’s because I never knew when an idea would hit, so I’d keep my iPhone’s Notes app within easy reach. “Oh, I love that!” I’d awaken at 3 am. “What a line! I have to write that down now, before I forget it.”
If you’re local – meaning you also visit the Catskills here in upstate New York – unfortunately there’s not much snow here yet. Windham Mountain had been making snow, but it rained yesterday. I grabbed this photo a little while ago from the lounge window:
As we know, we can’t do anything about the weather. As we also know, though, social media is full of self-help suggestions and “gurus” sharing with us how we can be happier inside of ourselves. We stumble on them constantly.
There has been criticism in some media and social media quarters over the avalanche of U.S. media reporting on the November 13 Paris massacres. Pointed to especially has been the comparatively far lesser coverage of the November 12 Beirut suicide blasts, in which over 40 were killed. The disparity between the two has prompted accusations that Americans simply don’t care nearly as much about mayhem in Beirut as they do about mayhem in Paris:
I’m not going to try to defend a difference in newspaper column inches and cable TV air time between the two horrors. Rather I will attempt briefly to address what is probably the basis for it. A personal experience came to my mind.
I understand it seems to be a narrowly focused piece that showcases certain businesses. Still, it gives an unbalanced impression of the region. There is lots of “style” out there beyond hugging Route 28 towards Roxbury.
Places that Indy article plugs, such as Woodstock and Phoenicia, are definitely worth visiting. Head north as well. Windham and adjoining towns – Hunter, Jewett, Ashland and Prattsville* – should not be missed.
Windham has the prettiest Main Street in the Catskills. It also boasts a large ski resort. (There’s also another in Hunter.) It has the wonderful Bistro Brie & Bordeaux. (One wouldn’t have thought the Independent could’ve possibly overlooked something like, uh, that.) There’s also the well-regarded Windham Vineyards and Winery. And you haven’t eaten in a diner until you’ve tried (cash only) Michael’s. (My English brother-in-law – who visited last summer – still talks about how much he enjoyed it.) I could go on….
Next door Ashland – one of the smallest towns in New York state – even has a replica Partridge Family bus. (It’s on private property.) Does anything get more “stylish” than that?
The area has state forests and fantastic hiking trails. It’s also somewhere you can drive for tens of miles before bumping into a traffic light. (The hamlet of Tannersville – there’s “style” there too – in the town of Hunter, has the STOP light.) The vistas and serenity are second to none for the Catskills.
Yes, I’m biased. Our house is outside of Windham. However, if you drive up from New York City and confine yourself only to what’s along Route 28 and don’t continue up from Phoenicia to Route 23, you haven’t really seen the Catskills.
Have a good day, wherever you are reading this….
NOTE: *For me, one of the few “lighthearted” moments of Tropical Storm Irene and the lousy late summer of 2011 was hearing CNN’s Anderson Cooper repeatedly say “Prattsville” to an audience of global viewers. The town and area have rebounded from the flooding. Prattsville still has a few ruined private dwellings marked for demolition, but most business locations have recovered, rebuilt, and, indeed, often been refurbished.
A view of Windham Mountain, in upstate New York, just after 3:30pm Thursday, local time:
You know that bit on Euronews where they do that video offered with “No Comment” thing?
I’ve suffered from occasionally absolutely cracking headaches since I was a teen. I’ve never really understood why: they have no “obvious” trigger. Today had been “one of those days.” Terrific pain hit this morning and has been with me all day.
I gave James my headaches in the books. Nice of me, eh? As writers we have control literally over everything our characters do… and endure!
Finally feeling a little better, I ventured outside. Hence, the photo.