I am not aging gracefully. Some of you may wonder why I haven't posted on my blog since May 31. Truth is that I forgot my username and password and couldn't remember where I'd written it down. This morning I found it - and just in the knick of time. Some of you may know me from my writings on BGRASS-L, the bluegrass newsgroup. Things have degenerated there to the point that I decided it might be better to spend my time in my own space than bother posting there.
Over the past few weeks I've enjoyed festivals in Chillicothe Illinois, Bean Blossom Indiana and Benton PA. More about all those later. I'm weary with all the driving. Along the way I've seen lots of friends, heard more great music than I deserved, and sadly seen the horrible devastation of flood waters throughout Pennsylvania and New York. Those pretty little streams and rivers we're drawn to can turn ugly fast and whisk away lives and property seemingly in the blink of an eye. My heart goes out to all those who lost so much.
Independence Day here in New York's lovely Catskill Mountains feels much like a day in Wales. I look out over the heavy rain and mist, listen to all the birds tirelessly calling, and feel real glad to be home, well, sort of. Some of you might think life on the road is this elusive, magical thing and I suppose it is in a way. But it's real nice to get somewhere and just sit still for awhile and look out into nothingness and see and think about nothing. Yeah. Peace. Now some of you have probably never been to New York (the State, that is) and think this entire place is covered with several inches of tarmac or asphalt or whatever you want to call it. But think again. In fact (and yes, I am biased) this is a truly beautiful state. I remember when I was a kid it seemed like everywhere you looked there was a dairy farm with a herd of calmly masticating Holstein-Friesians lolling around under the big maple trees. Well, those days are sadly a bit past but many of the barns and a few of the farms still thrive and the state offers up a wide variety of lakes, ponds, huge state and national parks, plenty of lovely farmland and a whole lot more. It would be quite easy to spend several months just touring New York state and leaving the rest of the world alone. Maybe I'll do that sometime. Vist New York - and get out of the southeastern corner of the state. There's a whole lot of wildlife, beautiful old stone walls cutting through virgin forest, and rollicking streams just waiting here for you to enjoy (and please deposit your litter in an appropriate place).
Like yesterday, my sister went over to ride her chestnut horse Sage and I tagged along and got to ride a gorgeous registered quarter horse named Casey and we rode with Bertha, our tour guide (and owner of Casey) who was on this firey, powerful (I'm not sure what breed he is) horse named Zeus. We had a ride! It was too hot to canter but we rode some 4 or 5 hours along dirt roads here in the Catskills not too far from New Paltz along this incredible stream that roared down below. Along the stream were groves of rhododendrons in full bloom and nearby mountain laurel were also blooming. For long periods of time it was just 3 women on horses out in the wilderness. No houses, no cars and the sound of hooves on a dirt road with a stream gushing below over huge flat rocks and birds shouting all around. It doesn't get better than that. On the way home we came to a standstill not once but twice as huge families of wild turkey streaked out into the road before us - two hens and about 20 chicks (if you call them that). Magical. The deer are never far off in the Catskills so I hesitate to even mention them, but as we rode we saw a fawn rise up from the grass behind an old cabin, prance around a bit and then sink down again. Later a doe paused on the roadside and watched us saunter past.
Independence Day. I hope the rains stop so all those wonderful famly gatherings can proceed without the dreary hand of rain upon them. I like the rain. But folks, we've had enough up here for awhile. We don't want to compound the problems of folks in places like Walton and Hancock and Cadosia New York - folks who have lost all they had - to the rushing waters. Let's dry up and let the farmers make some hay! Happy Independence Day to all of you out there.