In Which Cell Service is Traded for Serenity

I’m slowly creeping back towards punctual publication but alas I still haven’t managed to claw my way back to Sunday night. I’ll get there eventually, though probably not next week as a dance weekend looms… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’ve still not told you about this past week’s adventures.

After the snow day, I plowed head first into the rest of my week, starting with Wednesday. Following a rather tiring day at work I went home, did a few chores, and then, less intentionally than I might have desired, feel asleep until it was time for westie. The next day, I made my way through another eight hours of work before bounding home to turn sourdough into bread dough and deposit it in the fridge to proof. Once the bread was wrangled (and folded and fermented and shaped) I stuffed some clothes in a backpack, plucked a fresh new book from my shelf and promptly passed out.

About six hours later I was back up again baking bread before the sun came up and putting the final touches on my packing for a weekend of blessed serenity. Yes, after a long and rather frantic day at work, I and my freshly baked bread were on our way to Penn. From Penn I caught a crowded train to Secaucus where I changed to the Main Branch and about twenty minutes later hopped off in Clifton to scavenge for a grocery store and wait for my partner in crime. Thirty minutes later, we had hot chocolate powder, marshmallows, meat, cheese, and a miscellanea of other things stuffed into the trunk and back seat of a car flying down the turnpike towards the mountains.

As we wound through the night we eventually made our way to the quiet hamlet of West Kill, nestled in a little valley out of cell service with the darkest night skies, where we found the most beautiful little Air BnB complete with claw foot tub and canopied bed. We were spending the weekend in the Catskills at the home of a wonderfully welcoming couple—a blues musician and a nurse—and their charming trio of animals: a macaw, a paint, and a big, lovey puppy.

Interestingly, though in Ireland Kill/Cil means “church”, in Upstate New York it’s Dutch and it means “creek”. No one seems to know why it’s “cat’s” creek, but there were certainly rivers and rivulets a plenty.

Saturday morning we woke to a veritable menagerie of birds outside our windows. Blue jays, juncos, cardinals, chickadees, woodpeckers, even red winged blackbirds, the entire avian cast of my youth was right outside the glass with the delightful bonus of an occasional speckled starling, nuthatch, or jaunty titmouse. We spent the better part of the morning seated in the windowsill watching the birds before eventually making our way over to our host’s side of the house to share stories and meet the dog. Yes, the dog was a delight. He was a big, happy, two year old English Mastiff with no concept of his own size and no compunction as to his big slobbery jaws. I loved him.

About the time I was finally convinced to stop playing with the puppy, the snow began its soft descent and we set out to find a view. About a mile up a switchback mountain road, we found one softly peering through the snow and a bit beyond that we found a beautiful clean expanse of fresh snow between us and a creek. Other wiser individuals stayed on the well cleared road. I waded up to my thighs in the snow bank, grinning like an idiot the entire way.

When we made it back into the warm indoors it was time to rest and, in my case, read while the snowfall grew heavier and the flakes grew bigger until the whole world was a blanket of white. There is nothing quite like the stillness of falling snow in the countryside.

We hardly moved until around 7pm when we got it into our silly heads to go for another walk in the snow. I suppose it was about an hour and a half altogether as we ambled along a quiet country road, quite alone in the dark under the softly falling veil of snow. By the time we turned back for home, it was only an occasional porch light and the sparkle of the stars that kept us from pitch blackness. We left a little snowman on the railing of the final bridge we crossed before we took our snow dusted selves back into the warmth and the light of our Air BnB.

The following morning, I actually managed to sleep in, only making my way into the morning around 10am rather than my normal 7am or so. We then tidied up our things, spent an hour or so chatting with our hosts and then set off to explore the area before our magical mountain weekend ended.

Our first adventure was back down the road we’d walked the night before. We knew it was a dead end but we’d run out of light to reach that end so we drove down and found it. We then turned for Phoenicia, the home of our host’s favourite Diner. It was the very image of an “American Diner”, all chrome and modish shapes. I had a glorious, big strawberry milkshake. Following Phoenicia, we headed up the 214 towards the Kaaterskill Falls. The view from the road was pretty, but nothing much, but the view from the lookout point? Stunning. The entire falls were frozen with only a tiny spout of water splashing off the top and into the snow below.

After spending no small amount of time staring at the falls in the near sunset, we headed back to the car andreturned to the road in the direction of Woodstock. When we got there we found a terrifically kitschy little town of only the wealthiest of hippies. If you’re ever looking for left wing literature or vegan fusion food, Woodstock is the place to find it. For our parts, we settled on some mediocre Asian fusion and a very short wander past the village green before we headed back to the highway to get me back to Secaucus and a train.

I was home before midnight and asleep soon after.

Today was a fairly average sort of a day and now here I am trying to get all caught up on things before the rest of this week rolls down on me like a sisyphean boulder and bashes me straight into the Boston Tea Party and all sorts of swing! If only the laundry would somehow magically do itself!

Still swimming,
The Salsa Girl


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