It is still dark this morning when we leave the house for Hook Mountain. I am only half awake, feeling drowsy and a bit like a wilted tea leaf in last night's drained mug that's still on my dresser. Today is Sunday- Easter Sunday no less- but this morning there's no limitless lounging twixt the sheets, no slow, easy emulsion of coffee and undisrupted reading. This morning I am climbing the “Hook” to watch the sun rise over the Hudson River— with my family, close friends, and a backpack full of breakfast.
As I walk the sky lightens and I am impressed by the bland, brown beauty of this Hudson Valley terrain I live in. I am quiet, running words through my head with a pattern that I step, a verse—
“A Walking Writer”
Is writing as she walks.
Is she then a writing walker?
Stomping a search for synonyms. Not cinnamon. That’s already in the cupboard.
Did you know “rust” is a synonym for cinnamon?
and singalong are not
synonyms for cinnamon, even when sung along
Now there’s a way to warp a word--
sent from a word-warping writing, walking walker-writer
with greetings too.
We reach the peak of the Hook, a tall, bald lookout on the west bank of the Hudson. The river is wide and a dull, wrinkled grey; reflective of the overcast sky that is shrouding our treasured sunrise. Oh well: a narrow strip of pink is all we’re graced with, just a glimpse of dawn “spread out against the sky / like a patient etherized upon a table,” as T.S. Eliot would elegantly put it— or, as I might paint the image, like the slimy orange slabs of smoked salmon whose unique odor drove me from the kitchen as a child vegetarian, holding my nose.
Breakfast is eaten alfresco and the hike is reversed. Back home by ten, we rally to prepare an extravagant lunch (soups and grilled veggies and quiches, oh my!), host a humbly extravagant (if such a paradox can be tolerated) lunch party, and decorate eggs in the ancient Ukrainian Easter tradition (which is to say playing with fire, melted wax, raw eggs and lots of pretty plant dyes)!
When the party is over and the creative stores exhausted, we all begin to feel the toll of our early start. The remedy to drowsy afternoon hours? A power nap… and writing another little poem :)
and my mind glides like mud
into a nap
that obscures the precious smolder of evening
and clears only after
the sun has set.
Sleep stole from me those ruddy, gilded hours
so glorious through the trees,
but got me a snatch of rest instead
and a dream almost
So you see, on this lovely day of March 27, 2016, this mild Easter Sunday, I was robbed both of sunrise and sunset: one obscured by stratocumulus fog, the other by my leaden lids. What I did see of this day, though, far made up for the solar splendors I missed, and was peaceful, luxuriant, and- in our own haphazard, familial way- gleefully, wistfully sacred.