Road Walking, Urban Walking, USA
Comments 10

Beyond the Back Steppes: The Neighbourhood in Winter #1

Hi, all.

I’ve been a bad, bad blogger again, but hopefully I can get back in the groove after perhaps my longest break from posting since embarking on the crazy roller-coaster ride that is walking-blogging. A lot’s been happening, and this isn’t the time or place to fill you in on all of it: I’m tapping this with my laptop perched atop my, er, lap, in the waiting area of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

My tour of great regional airports of the United States continues apace — a few hours ago I enjoyed 39 minutes of the Washington version after taking off from Albany this afternoon. In an hour I should be watching Texas recede into the rainy night from the comfort of a real aeroplane and a (so far, for me) reassuringly reliable airline beginning with “Q”. I’ll fill you in in a day or two.

Meanwhile, apologies for the eerie silence emanating from Club Mountaingoat, and here’s something to fill the void for the time being. A couple of weeks or more ago, I put together three short collections of pictures commemorating/celebrating the demise of the hardest Winter of my life — or perhaps any life. At the time, a recalcitrant Spring had finally grown a pair and showed Old Man Winter the door: we had a few days of unbelievable, almost Brisbane-like sunny weather, and Kate and I began attacking the daunting expanses of front- and backyard revealing themselves as the snow receded.

I felt reborn, after several periods of gloom and outright depression, probably caused in part by a lack of good old vitamin D; in part by realising I could not be sustained, with little else to fill my days, by dreary trudges along sludgy roadsides to either a good cafe downtown (an 8-mile round trip) or to our bakery/cafe in the strip mall zone (about 7).

Working in the yard has been fantastic, totally reenergising — I was a gardener before I was a hiker, but it’s been a long while. Then, just to keep us guessing, we woke yesterday to find all our hard work freshly buried under another couple of inches of brilliant white! It had melted off by day’s end, and I got some nice shots between stints with mattock, loppers, rake, spade and coffee cup, but that was yet another manifestation of the Weirdest Winter Ever.

I don’t want to jinx us, but I think that’ll be the last snow for a while, at least in the Saratoga lowlands. So here’s the first of those neighbourhood Winter shots, which I think give a good idea of what it was like. See you soon, got a plane to catch…

A neighbour provides some patriotic colour in yet another snowfall.

A neighbour provides some patriotic colour in yet another snowfall.

Nearby field, freshly dusted

Nearby field, freshly dusted

Goat tracks adorn a very rare sidewalk on U.S. 9 during a snowy walk for beer.

Goat tracks adorn a very rare sidewalk on U.S. 9 during a snowy walk for beer.

Hell freezes over on U.S. 9.

Hell freezes over on U.S. 9.

Prettiest excavators since Korea cuddle up in the snow.

Chilly excavators cuddle up for warmth in falling snow.

mmm

Woodpeckers hide safely indoors.

mmm

Back from my beer run — a quick stint in the icebox before serving.

mmm

View from the back door

mmm

A team of huskies was needed to get the trash to the kerb.

mmm

Somehow the mail always gets through.

mmm

Believe it or not, ours is a sealed road: snow plow at work down the block.

mmm

The twins scale a front-yard peak.

mmm

A successful first ascent

mmm

Nothing says “beachball” like a freezing snowy day.

mmm

It always ends like this.

mmm

Neighbour’s letterbox

mmm

One day I ambled nonchalantly to Planet Mall in a developing snowstorm…

mmm

..past this quiet street where not much ever happens…

mmm

..and a place where a trusty steed was for sale…

mmm

..and crossing I-87, the Northway, which heads into the Adirondacks and beyond, to Canada…

mmm

..and a deserted stretch of  railway tracks…

mmm

..and passing this little parcel of state land on the fringes of the strip malls — I chose to explore it on a later date.

mmm

Other days — rare ones — there was sunshine and a sky of purest blue…

mmm

..which hardly bothered the snowbanks on the back porch…

mmm

..but turned some of the ice clumped on branches to droplets as the day ended…

Back with #2 in a couple of days!

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote

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10 Comments

  1. Darius Russell says

    Hmmmm…don’t know what to make of this post?? A sad (and permanent) end to a glorious (and damn cold) Winter for Kate and the Goat? Or a temporary journey into something new somewhere else that will make all of us romantics (of which I am bittersweetly one) Shake our head and say, yes, this was/is right for the happy couple?
    Perhaps they are getting married? Perhaps Goat has taken up a new teaching post in Pango Pango????
    Until next week! Same Bat time! Same bar channel!!!

    • Pango Pango sounds nice, Darius! Sadly not quite as exotic as that, but Brisbane is still pretty damned nice — and no, it’s not permanent, unless there are issues with my nice, clean passport (see latest post)!

  2. Gee, the mind boggles. Where are you living? Siberia? That’s some serious snow going on! Hope you’re thawing out okay in Newman’s Kingdom!

    • Oh yes, very nice to be back in bayside Brissie, right-wing regime and all!

      I like to think all that snow helped make me a tougher and better man. It definitely made Spring even more joyous than usual!

  3. That’s a lot of snow for April. We headed north from Massachusetts and then west in early April of 1974 on our way to Washington State, assuming that we wouldn’t see much snow from then on. I don’t recall that we did.

    Enjoyed looking at this series of photos and am looking forward to hearing more about your great adventure with Kate and the girls. I’m guessing that you are going to be on a walk for awhile, but what do I know?

    • I think most of those shots were taken in Feb/March, Am. The ground was satisfyingly free of white stuff when I left.

      More details about this trip in the latest post. The legal aspects of my American life are a work in progress — at present subsisting on 90-day visas with some very expensive travel home necessary between them…

    • The mattock is my favourite tool! No other garden tool is as useful, versatile, and satisfying to wield, though swinging it does wreak havoc on my delicate back. I came close to bringing my old one to New York, but it would have pushed my excess baggage charge into the stratosphere.

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