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Weekend Window: The American Queen and Madison Dreams Photo Blog

American Queen sailing from Madison IN
The American Queen on her way down river.
Leaving Madison, Indiana

When it’s late on the west coast most of my east coast friends are in bed. Nights are very lonely when you’re away from home.

Last night I dreamed of being back in Madison again, but the town was empty. I walked all the trails and didn’t find anybody there, either. Continue reading Weekend Window: The American Queen and Madison Dreams Photo Blog

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Madison Goodbye, Part 2

Our permanent home in Lover, Pennsylvania

Robins and cardinals, catbirds and finches woke me this morning. Through my open window I heard the drumming of a woodpecker. From my bed I could see the trees were still dripping from last night’s rain. The sky promised to be another day of burgeoning gray clouds: lovely, full, heavy rain. I could hear and see nothing else. No cars, no shouts or honking horns from an apartment complex. It would seem a blessing, it is a blessing.

And yet I’m still thinking of Madison, Indiana. Even if my body can only be in one place, I think I have a forever bifurcated mind and heart. Continue reading Madison Goodbye, Part 2

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Madison Goodbye, Part 1

Madison from the Kentucky hilltop

I don’t know how to say goodbye. Today is the last full day in Madison before we move on and I am thinking of all the ways I’ve said goodbye in a lifetime. Before Kurt, before I knew what a healthy relationship was, I broke up with old boyfriends by either waiting it out, hoping they would tire of me and I wouldn’t have to be the one to cause pain or, more frequently, by moving. Both are forms of running – from myself maybe, from pain, from the tough decisions. I even went so far as moving to California to break up with one guy and back to Pennsylvania to break up with another one.  Continue reading Madison Goodbye, Part 1

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Hatcher Hill Paw Paws, Sunrise Falls and the Graves of Anger and Hunger

There are so many places left unhiked. Once I develop an affinity for a place it’s difficult to make myself try something new. If you’ve been reading you already know my outdoor writing spots: the river; the lower Heritage Trail; the stairs to the state hospital; and the ledge overlooking the boulders of the abandoned railroad canyon.

But some places I just like to walk for the sake of movement and exercise, and I’ll even take a hiking buddy if I can find one willing to meet at the buttcrack of dawn. Hatcher Hill is one of those places.  Or, at least, it was until my buddy Jack Bird imbued it with a kind of vicarious nostalgia. Now I hike it with images of my friend as a carefree adolescent, imagining, through him, a Madison that now exists only in his memories. Continue reading Hatcher Hill Paw Paws, Sunrise Falls and the Graves of Anger and Hunger

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Clifty Falls Weight Loss Guide: Hike; Fall; Cry like a baby; Hike some More

I have learned that it takes me 5.5 hours to hike 10 miles, including two short writing stops, a wipe-out, and a few heavy-breathing rest stops on the climb back out. I have learned I don’t know how to estimate how much water to carry for 10 miles, and that it is possible to drop 2 pounds in a single day due to overexertion and mostly, water loss. I learned all of this at Clifty Falls on Sunday because apparently I needed to learn something new. Continue reading Clifty Falls Weight Loss Guide: Hike; Fall; Cry like a baby; Hike some More

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OPA! Flaming Greek cheese and Marla’s Meg Ryan moment at Bistro One

I have no ability to separate eating and making love. I’m sorry. Both are primal and sensual. And right there, in Bistro One last week, I did everything in my power to keep from having a Meg Ryan moment from the movie When Harry Met A Sally (except that Meg/Sally was faking it).

“I love you” I said to owner Nick, on our second visit to the upscale restaurant in downtown Madison. “But your husband is right here!” he replied in mock surprise. I grinned at him, “We have an understanding when it comes to food.”  Continue reading OPA! Flaming Greek cheese and Marla’s Meg Ryan moment at Bistro One

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Weekend Window: Madison Farmer’s Market

Today’s photo-blog was as tasty as it was fun. Heading home with 8 quarts of blackberries for a jam session. Are we really counting down less than a week now? Leaving in ~6~ :’-(

Love, Marla Continue reading Weekend Window: Madison Farmer’s Market

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The Art of Canyon Solitaire: Reflections on Theroux, Abbey, and Kurt’s Cap’n Crunch

It all started with an innocent bowl of Cap’n Crunch and an even more innocent Kurt, excited for our morning of adventure. And it was really cramping my routine.

Travel writer Paul Theroux is a major proponent of traveling alone to avoid the distractions of another person. He also believes in not using cameras because it ruins observation. While I believe cameras can actually deepen observation and shape later narrative, I understand his point about travel. I do have better interactions with locals if I’m by myself. People are more apt to approach me and talk with me as an individual than as a pair. Likewise, the infiltration of another’s voice or pace or presence alters the way I interact. Continue reading The Art of Canyon Solitaire: Reflections on Theroux, Abbey, and Kurt’s Cap’n Crunch

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Monkey balls, hedgeapples, spiders, and Wooly Mammoth scat

osage orange hedge apple monkey ball woolly mammoth scat

osage orange hedge apple monkey ball woolly mammoth scatCan you call anything as large as wooly mammoth dung “scat?” I don’t know, but I’ve taken the liberty anyway.

I don’t think they’ll have any mammoth scat listed Robson’s Who Pooped in the Park? series for kids, books geared to engage junior “rangers” through matching the crap with the animal. There are different editions so that children of all ages can, let’s say, appreciate the difference between grizzly bear poop in Glacier and black bear poop in Acadia.

WARNING! The creepiest spider in the world, the size of my hand, is pictured in this blog. Do NOT continue reading if you are even the slightest bit wigged out by spiders. (Let me know and I can send you a text-only version if you want to read without pictures.) Continue reading Monkey balls, hedgeapples, spiders, and Wooly Mammoth scat