21 October 2007

Boot 'N Paddle - October 19

Mother never let me have a pumpkin as a child. I remember driving past the pumpkin patch on my way to cello lessons, wanting so badly to run up, down and betwixt the rows of the mysterious vegetables, but always hastily bypassing the farmer’s field. Of course, Mother always discouraged running, too.
I remember seeing pumpkins sitting on doorsteps, faces carved into grotesque alterations of the human face, with candlelight spilling out from their eyes, mouth and nose. They frightened me, but mesmerized me, too. I spent many evenings imagining whose face I would chose to etch into my own pumpkin. While I suppose other children carved their favorite baseball players, or film stars, I always dreamed of carving the features of my favorite author, Richard Henry Dana. Many hours I passed in conversation with an imaginary Richard Henry Dana carved into an imaginary pumpkin. How lucky was I to have such a friend who could keep me awake at night with stories of rounding Cape Horn and trading beaver pelts with Native Americans? Every time I pretended to carve a pumpkin, I always chose Richard Henry Dana, for his stories never grew tiresome.
My neighbors, twin boys named Phillip and D’Artagnan, were always permitted to have pumpkins, and furthermore, were allowed to disguise themselves on Halloween night! From my father’s study I could perfectly see the two boys, dressed as ghouls, warlocks, and wizards, playing tricks on the other neighborhood boys. Oh, how I wished to partake in their tomfoolery! I watched them eat sweets that their mother had cooked for them specially for Halloween. They must have had toothaches from the amount of sweets their mother allowed them to eat.
Mother never let me eat sweets. On one occasion, she placed a decorative candle beside me, and I mistook it for a licorice whip, or peppermint stick, and consumed the entire candle before she had the chance to stop me. While the taste was slightly unpleasant, I must say the thrill of eating something so ornamental was truly invigorating.
As this Halloween approaches, I am filled with the same excitement that I have felt before Halloweens of past. My neighbors have a pumpkin outside their door, and my roommate purchased a bag of sweets! I will most likely spend Halloween night with an old friend, Richard Henry Dana.

15 October 2007

Boot 'N Paddle - October 5

For all you sad sacks out there (sad people love Boot ‘N Paddle), it’s autumn, so cheer up. I don’t mean for that to sound too harsh or unsympathetic, but really! There is so little to be unhappy about in the fall. Summertime? It can be so…like, when the sun is so bright, and you just think, “dang, I wish it were fall.” And spring. You’re thinking, “I hate this wannabe fall.” Winter, is actually pretty great, too. But fall? Oh yeah.
The smells! Wood smoke. I’m not a huge fan of people that smell too strongly of any particular scent. Exception…wood smoke. If you smell like wood smoke, I will almost certainly like you. I will at the very least, in discussing your flaws, throw in an “although… he/she does smell like wood smoke.” The only thing better than people who smell like wood smoke, is wood smoke. Wood smoke. It smells amazing! Think about this scenario. You wake up in the morning. The floor is cold when you swing your bare feet off of your bed and set them down. The fire went out during the night so you throw some kindling on the embers and it starts right up. It’s not long until you add a couple of other nostalgia builders…the smell of bacon and coffee. If I could eat wood smoke, I would. With bacon and coffee, that dream becomes a reality. Those are just a few of the smells. Think about fallen leaves, crisp air, and wool.
Holy cow…wool! This is probably the best part about autumn. I have a lot of sweaters. I just acquired a new one today. I’m wearing one right now. The best part about sweaters is that there is never a “bad” sweater. It doesn’t matter if you have one with Balou on the front. What matters is that it keeps you warm. Add one button down shirt beneath the sweater and we are really getting autumnal. I’m not trying to delve to far into the fashion aspects of fall, but… you can’t have too much wool. Get a scarf.
Of course I have to address the aestheticism of fall. It’s great. We all know that. I’m color blind, and I know that. (It’s not like I don’t see color. I just see colors differently than you do. The colors might even look more vibrant to me than they do to you…so…maybe I actually feel badly for you).
I’m starting to get anxious writing this (actually my intern is writing this… I dictate all of my Boot ‘N Paddles). There is so much to love about fall! Cider! Apples! Pumpkins! Halloween! Fall zephyrs! Christmas is coming! Squirrels! Migration! Bears! Canoeing! Lambs! Soup! Corn chowder! Chicken and dumpling! Split pea! Baked beans! Casseroles! Hot cider! Falafel wraps (they aren’t really autumnal…I just like them)! Flannel! Splitting wood! Crunching! Leaf piles! Sleeping! Chilly, cloudy days! Knit socks! Autumn romance!
If you’re cooped up in the computer lab or stuck in a class, don’t forget it’s fall outside! I never do. If you see someone wearing a couple of layers underneath a sweater and a scarf, drinking hot cider, and breathing slowly and heavily through their nose, that is probably me. The guy next to me is my intern.

Boot 'N Paddle - September 28

I was recently looking through the St. Lawrence University archives and came across a great article about Peak Weekend. I’m not sure when this was written, or by who, but I knew I had to share it with you!

Next weekend, like as not, is Peak Weekend.
Many’s the time that St. Lawrence students have hiked their tails off campus, possibly owning courage to some concoction of mountain dew, to try their luck at ascending a mountain by way of ankle express.
For those out there as sorry as owl bait, close only counts in horseshoes (and hand grenades). There is but one destination and that is the top. Excuses are sucker bait. You might have Tennessee quickstep, or maybe you’ve got a case of the skitters, it makes no difference. You make it to the top or your cake will turn to dough, at least on this campus.
Of course, I’ll be a suckegg mule if each and every peak isn’t done. People have a way of getting down to brass tacks and climbing the mountains like bats out of hell. Always has been, always will be.
It doesn’t take a rip snorter to join the fun. Any blueberry baby could do it! It’s hog killing weather, the best time to put on the dog and beat the band. What have you got to lose? So have a cup of Arbuckle’s if it makes your senses more keen, and jump on the wagon. I could knock you down for a row of brick houses! Just kidding! From hell to breakfast, we’ll see you there!

Isn’t that great? It may have been a little confusing… but it got me really excited for Peak Weekend. It’s the weekend of the 6th and 7th, and it is going to be great! Look out for emails with more information (as if you need more!). Get excited!