November 26, 2006

The Path to Rome, Ohio   (the long weekend in review)

It was Black Friday morning when I found myself traveling under sunny skies through a complex maze of orange barrels that signified major road construction, road construction so thorough that the highway I'd once remembered as 161 had bi-located into “Old 161” and the new regular “161”. I sailed past my exit but eventually got turned around so that I might enter a forest I’d often frequented a decade ago. On the way there I tried to think of new lyrics to Neil Diamond's "Play Me" as re-titled "Beer Me", but nothing could quite replace that deep if voice singing:
And so it was
That I came to travel
Upon the road
That was thorned and narrow
Another place
Another grace
Would save me
The park was much beiger than I’d recalled, beige from the bare brown trunks and decayed leaves on and along the paths. Seems I’d never hiked here much in winter, or for what passes for winter in these days of the Early Global Warming Era. The smooth-barked denizens lent themselves to carvings so it felt like I was traveling through a collection of names, like some sort of primitive Vietnam War Memorial. I wondered if the old-souls felt stripped of their dignity by being bearers of the teenage handicrafts, or whether they took pride in their role in conferring a promised immortality, at least immortality by human standards.

I jogged down the paths high on the succor of three consecutive days off work and I could taste the pizza with my name on it that would soon be baking in the oven of our local pizzeria. If the anticipation is usually better than the realization I was going to enjoy the anticipation. I’d woken that morning with the notion of reading twenty books on the back patio but I find exercise generally a prerequisite to decent concentration. Unfortunately too much exercise is a conduit to sleep, which makes reading in a recliner a dicey proposition. I must be relaxed enough to want to read but not too relaxed as to fall asleep. This results in much sleep and a decent amount of exercise but an average of only a novel read per year. Cue Diamond:
Song she sang to me
Song she brang to me
Words that rang in me
Rhyme that sprang from me
Warmed the night
And what was right
Became me
The sky bent-blue over the Norway pines and wistering vines and purplish thorn plants that wished to thwart any off-path explorations. This cloudlessness and warmth is such a rare feature of late Ohio November that it upped the ante of bad behavior --- I limbo'd my bike under the barrier that attempted to prohibit usage of a perfectly serviceable part of a public park. This feat of daring is comparable to when I take Alka Seltzer before the tablets are fully dissolved, but no pet peeve of mine more proves that power corrupts than that when park rangers set about making only a fifth of the park regularly available to the people who pay for it. My working theory is they like private hikes without running into the hoi poloi, a pleasure I was now able to ironically enjoy.
Up tufts of firs
like English butlers
the piney arms held bouquets
of green chandliers.
After the jog/ride I brought the pizza home and showed it to my wife, as if I’d landed a large fish. There at the ridiculously early dinner hour of 4pm I had my pizza and she had the spaghetti I'd also brought and I was oddly cheered by this rare event of being able to eat dinner while it was still light. A downy woodpecker visited the feeder and we briefly considered whether it might be a hairy woodpecker.

We broke camp for the latest Bond movie around 6:45 for the 6:45 showing, hoping to miss as much of the twenty minutes of coming attraction ads as was humanly possible. Eric Scheske had mercifully lowered expectations; to this day I don’t think I’ve ever liked a movie I’ve had high expectations going in. He said it was overly long so I was patienter [intentional sic, think of this as a pitcher's intentional walk] than normal. It was certainly the best 007 movie I’d seen in ages though I’m hardly an expert. The girlfriend of a bad guy, Caterina Murino, was startingly beautiful. I hadn’t been that taken aback since Jennifer Connelly in A Beautiful Mind.

Consecutive weekend hikes left our dog Obi dog tired. He flopped about on the love seat like he wasn’t aware he had limbs; they dangled like his floppy ears over the couch’s side.

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