Sunday, October 1, 2017

Hacklebarney State Park

Trish's idea, we rode into Chester and had breakfast at the Chester Diner, listening to NPR on the way, appreciating the very high level of journalistic report on Hugh Hefner's great influence on our culture. Also Trish's idea, a Hacklebarney State Park hike. She had mentioned both last night and I capitulated instantly, feeling only slight grudge for the fact that we hiked Hacklebarney only two years ago. I tend to strike new ground.

With little time before I will go to work, we walked to the, I believe they are, Trout Brook Falls. On the way out, I checked the map, and though I couldn't conclude for certain on the evidence that this is Trout Brook, not Rinehart's Brook, most likely it is Trout Brook. (By what I've gathered, there are wild trout in this stream, but you would have to work hard to find one.)

On the way home, we came up against standstill traffic. Alstede Farms and Cider Mill Farm are drawing huge crowds, which is why Hacklebarney was very crowded, also. I turned around, and took Hacklebarney Road back from where we came, following it out and making turns, knowing I was somewhere in the vicinity of Willowwood Arboretum, and somewhere in the larger context of Long Valley and Califon. We never found Willowwood, but did come upon CR 512 pretty soon, a road I know. I had answered a question from Trish with, "I don't know where I am," and while she fumbled with her mobile device unsuccessfully, she got nervous, so I guess I made a mistake in saying that, but I can't seem to help but elevate drama when I can. On Fairmount Avenue, a road I vaguely recognized though it still didn't make me sure of our whereabouts, eventually the image of the crossing of 512 at a church came to mind. With that church and crossing shortly behind us, I said so, but my words came across anticlimactically as I feared they would, since I spoke them after the fact. She made the point that we were lost, oh, but that I "knew" that intersection was coming up.

Hardly lost. I reminded her that back in my teens, my friends and I used to smoke joints and I would drive my Ford Fairlane station wagon up into North Jersey at night completely at random, the three or four of us finding our way back to Mercer County every time. We called this repeated-but-always-unique adventure the Space Cruise.

Trish and I connected with Route 206 in Bedminster Township 19 minutes after we had turned around.

On this last stretch homeward, I turned NPR on and then off. Johnathan Swartz played "Hey Jude," and we've heard that number as many times as John Lennon tripped on LSD. Back at home, I felt very good about the morning, felt affirmation for life to come yet, felt good about moving to Manhattan in retirement--if Trish's plan comes true--and there on that peculiar island joining mostly informal organizations and making friends with writers, photographers, artists. (And if we have some money, a boat will be docked on the Hudson.) And despite my attitude towards the Beatles (and Johnathan Swartz) minutes before, after all, songs do get so jaded they no longer make sense, despite this ooze of overfamiliarity, when I booted up this computer, it occurred to me that taking a sad song and making it better is about as central a tenet as any great philosophical mind can impart.

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