Saturday, February 04, 2012


You know what I love about Saturdays?
...It’s the only day where I don’t have to do anything. No classes the next day. No essential chores. No schedule! No rush!
So there’s another Ice Age Trail maintenance project today...

Ah well... so we rush. But you know, rushing for something that is as delightfully energizing and (therefore) pleasurable as heaving logs and branches on a bright February morning (the kind I dared only dream of yesterday) is an entirely different proposition.

But, despite the hurry, we are late for the meet up. (Taking the wrong road doesn’t help.) Where are they? We listen for the noise of a chainsaw. Silence.


We look for signs of fires burning. Nothing.


We hike the trail, hoping to come to come across the work crew.


And we find them. With a handful of teens who are here to do their community service.

It’s warmer today and within minutes, our jackets are off.



We work steadily, quietly, interrupting each other only to comment on the clumsiness of the other. Careful don’t trip. Don’t you trip. You’re so clumsy! Clumsy? You’re the epitome of clumsiness! And so on.

Toward noon, the Trail people get out the food for the volunteers. It’s our sign to take off. But this time I linger for just a little while. There’s great pleasure in watching these kids let loose over a very hot fire.

One of the Trail builders has brought his usual pots and pans and he teaches one kid to make chocolate cake under burning embers.


You get the feeling that life is good, here, in the clearing. Forget about the issues that push us to do stupid or angry things. Here – it’s all calm. The only noise is of snapping branches in the fire and of the chain saw around the bend.

Eventually I pull myself away and we drive the country roads toward home.


In other news: I thought about family this afternoon. I had reason to. Maybe the most poignant was a call to my father (in Warsaw). He was looking for reassurance on some family matters and I gave it to him, even as I believe none of it. He’s old. He deserves not to worry.

But, additionally, he asked me to call a friend of ours in New York. It is that friend’s birthday and my dad no longer has the ability to work through the complexity of calling someone far away and communicate effectively with the odd person who picks up the phone.

I was reluctant. Dad, I don’t have any contact with those people anymore.
Please, call.
Sigh. Okay.

They’re famous. They are the ones whose daughter I cared for when I came back to this country as a young adult. I don’t like keeping in touch with famous people.

But, it was my dad’s request and so I called. Family. The person whose birthday it is could not talk, but his family was there and they did and we reminisced some – about the years when they were my life, my home, my reason for being in the States.

Families are there for each other – I’ve heard that line so often. Sometimes they are. When I come across instances when that is the case, it makes me smile.