Writing Weekend

Jostled by the Amtrak, I was heading home from the Adirondacks. It was the first time I offered one of these long writing weekends, I called my biz partner Kelly, “This is what I was put on this earth to do. I have found my purpose. It went so well.”

Yes, of course, I’ve felt this way, at other times, as a parent, writer, and teacher. But this calling — to be a writing workshop leader (facilitator? guru?) was different. I immediately felt gratification and somehow I knew by doing it, I’d changed the world for good. This was needed then.

It is needed now. Especially with the world of late. The news never seems good. For a few days next weekend, I’m looking forward to ditching my social media habit and my daily gnawing worry for the state of the union.

I need to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. I need to figure out who I am and what I think and how I feel. I need to express and share this vision — small or large. About relationships or about the nation. About my peace with the past or my intentions for the future. About tuning in to the present moment — the sound of a loon calling or the lake splashing against the dock.

There are  spots still available. You are most welcome to join. Especially if, like me, you need time away to get your head, your heart, or your life together.

We are a smart, creative, compassionate group right now. Register for the Adirondack Writing Weekend here. glenburnie

Sink or Swim

A week ago my youngest brother and I were in a boat on Lake Champlain.

I asked my niece, the driver, to slow down and drop us in the middle of the lake. My brother and I could swim ashore. I love the sink or swim mentality. I’ve never been on an Outward Bound excursion, but sometimes I think my life is an Outward Bound adventure. Before we even took a moment to rethink what we were doing and if we could do it, we dove in. The boat sped away.

I love the urgency and immediacy of putting  myself in a pressure cooker and seeing if I can handle it. This is probably why I’m always running late. I love the adrenaline rush of making the train just as it’s about to pull away. (I know, I know, there are many people in my life for whom this style of operating does not work!)

Back on shore, we couldn’t decide how many miles we swam.

Yesterday I signed up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in my office building. I am excited for the fall to start and the kids to get back in school (Kids, how are those summer reading assignments going? Not so good? Get reading!) so I can go back to daily fitness and healthy eating.

Maybe I will actually implement a healthy daily routine and not have to put myself in pressured situations in order to make it to shore.

Met the Publishers

Of Adirondack Explorer. A lovely cocktail party Thursday night overlooking Lake Champlain from a white house perched on a hill.

Really charming magazine about hiking, nature, promotion of the Adirondacks. Yesterday, I leafed through the magazine from poolside at Camp Normandie. It looked like my Rattlesnake hike story would fit in. I doubt they pay much. But both Ben and I took photos from the top of the mountain. I’d like to rework my story over the next day or so, then send it in.

Even if they pass on that story, maybe there’s another that would work!

Rattlesnake Mountain

We hiked Rattlesnake.

Maybe a fourth of the way up, Charlotte discovered a shedded snake skin stuck to the trunk of a toppled tree. Hayden peeled it up, like a nametag off a suit jacket. He made us all touch it. So yuck.

We arrived at the parking pull-off around noon and I think it was about 3:25 when we returned. Or else it was 3:52. I’m fairly beat now. And will likely feel it tomorrow.

In terms of endorphins, I think I hit them about 20 minutes into the hike on the way down. I was by myself. I felt a rush of well being as I watched my kids holding hands in a tunnel of light ahead of me. You know the kind of yellow light in the middle of green trees on a late summer day. Very nice. Very Hansel and Gretel. Heartwarming.

But then a stick and leaves were thrown. The girls broke into a fight. Catherine threw some kind of handful of seeds or leaves at Charlotte, to make it look like it was raining. And Charlotte took offense, said something nasty like “You touch yourself!” And Catherine said, “I was only making you look pretty.” And Charlotte said, “Without that stuff falling on me, you’re saying I”m not pretty?” in that kind of head-wagging way.

The endorphin buzz was lost somewhere in there.

But that’s what I get, hiking with 9-year old twins, a 12 year old, a 5 year old (Izzy, Kristen’s daughter), a 30-something year old, (Ben, Kristen’s boyfriend) and the husband with Parkinson’s.

I worried that the climb would be too difficult for Chris and Izy. But Izzy was only carried briefly on Ben’s shoulders.

Chris managed pretty well. Unlike our hike up Coon Mountain last week, when he was nearly last at the end of the hike, Chris, this time,  finished towards the front. With the help of a walking stick. And grit.

Searching for Endorphins

 First Run

The first day, less than a week ago, Deirdre, the girls and I ran to the little 1888 school house. Since then, we’ve talked endlessly about just how long it is from our house to the school house. 

We started around the garage, ran past the five humongous Newfoundlands at Shami’s.

And we ran uphill to get to that road. Deirdre said, “Going up hill, take small steps.” She said,  “Don’t worry about your upper body at all. Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.”

Second Run

On Saturday, we ran again, just me and the girls and Hayden. We ran to the schoolhouse, lay on the grass and stared at the Adirondack mountains. We watched the clouds. I was exhausted.

I love the school house. I love the grass, the broken fence, the tree, the yellow lyme schoolhouse. I love laying or sitting in the grass. Watching the kids do gymnastics. Every which way you look, there’s beauty.  A farmer’s field, a newly paved black road.

As we lay on the grass, Hayden said, “Hey there’s Jeff Kelly.” Jeff’s a writer, a jock, and my brother in law Jeff’s best friend. He is a natural athlete and flirt, told me I looked beguiling. I hit him in the chest with the back of my hand. He laughed.

He said he thought the run from our house to the school house was 3/4 of a mile. That made us feel good. He ran backwards as he talked to us, which made me feel lik he could run circles around me, which wasn’t a good feeling because he’s at least 15 years older than me.

Third Run

Yesterday, I said, “I’m gonna go for a run,” to Chris. 

“Okay, I’ll go with you,” he said. I made an ugh noise. Like, Please don’t. But then quickly said, “Okay, but you’ll have to keep up.” 

Chris was huffing and puffing. The previous day, he’d said the school house was 1/4 of a mile. “Now, do you think it’s farther?” I asked as he ran behind me. He couldn’t get the breath to answer. (But then when we reached the beach, we had Debbie drop us in the middle of the lake and we swam back to the beach, probably over a mile.)


I found a good stride.  For the first time I ran farther than the schoolhouse. Hayden ran with me. We made it to the road, Lake Shore. 

Hayden had just bought a pair of red Asics running shoes. He calls them “sexy.” He told me to take longer steps. I liked running with him. I especially liked when we hit the fields of flowers at the Stable Inn. We each took a different path as we ran through the field.

We waved at each other across the black-eyed Susans and Queen Ann’s Lace. There was a smell of pine. I felt really good. I think I found the endorphins.