Contemplating the Journey to Come

Hello All,

This weekend , I sat on the front porch of my family’s house in Huntington. It was a crystalline day, cool and breezy. The breeze off the water flowed over the lawn and carried the scent of wysteria to me. I’ve been in this place over so many years that now I see each object in a kind of double vision – present is overlaid with memories so vivid as to rival what is visible now. I look at the wysteria which has laid itself down, sinking under the weight of its heavy blossoms and I see also its shape when my sister Katharine had managed to train it into the surprising semblance of a small tree. I look down to the beach and see not only the fence with its beach roses but also the small low brick wall that that used to be there, that wall topped with plates of blueberry pie for the Fourth of July pie eating contests.

There was a sailboat race that started off a few hundred yards off shore. The way a sailboat race starts, the committee boat fires a gun three times in succession, each shot at a five minute interval from the one before it. When the third shot is fired, the race has begun. The time between the firing of the first shot and the firing of the shot that starts the race is chaotic. All the boats race back and forth seemingly at random, circling, sails flapping, getting in each others’ way, seeking the best position to be in when they are released into the race. When the third gun is fired, as if by magic, they all head off in the same direction toward the first buoy. All except one boat that has decided that maybe the other tack is better. Off it heads, determinedly, on another course.

I’m feeling a bit like that now. Waiting for the third gun, racing around in tighter and tighter circles running errands that might not really have to be run after all. I have been outfitting myself. I bought a pair of all-terrain hiking shoes, so that I need not worry about the strange lunar conditions I may encounter in the hinterlands of America. I was not certain whether I should buy a wide pair or a wider pair. The salesman had a deep faith in the adaptive qualities of the shoes “Oh they’ll stretch if the need to, but they won’t stretch if they don’t need to.” He reminded me of an optimistic panhandler up in Washington Heights who held up a pair of brown shoes as I walked by him in the street. “Shoes”, he said, “Just your size”.

All of this is to say that I’m just about ready to head off like that lone boat bucking the trend and heading the other way. Herewith is my itinerary:

May 27th – leave New York for San Francisco, where my camper van awaits.

June 1st – south to Catalina

June 3- 8th – Lindy Hop Dance Camp on Catalina followed by scuba diving.

June 13th – 18th – Wavy Gravy’s camp Winnarainbow in Mendocino. Wavy Gravy is a clown who was associated with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, and who appeared at Woodstock. I have no idea what this camp will be like.

June 26th – July 3rd – Audubon Nature Camp in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming

July 11th-16th – Sea Kayaking in Desolation Sound (the northern part of the sound between Vancouver Island and British Columbia)

July 19th – 25th – Tai chi workshop at Hollyhock, a holistic center on Cortes Island in the Desolation Sound area

August 26th – 28th – Storytelling Festival in Orem Utah

August 30th – Sept 6th – Burning Man. (Essentially an anarchistic art installation in the desert of Nevada.)

There’s a bunch of free time there in August, and several possibilities to fill it. The lead contender right now is a Wilderness Survival Skills workshop up in Canada around Banff. But I don’t want to schedule myself too tightly – I’ll leave myself open to whatever unforeseen possibilities might arise.

I’ll be carrying my laptop, so I should be in e-mail contact. I may try to connect via my cell phone. That connection is really slow, so please don’t send big files via e-mail. I’ve really appreciated all the support I’ve gotten from my friends and family around this trip. Please keep that support coming. I’d love to get input on places to go and things to see in the areas where I am. Of course, any new camp/festival information is very welcome.

Tom