MARTHA SEZ: ‘We’re not used to that much heat and light’

In warmer, sunnier parts of the world, some people have never seen snow. We send them postcards and calendars from the Adirondacks with photographs that show snow at its very best and most beautiful. The pristine white, shadowed with lavender-blue! The majestic pine trees, their branches burdened with snow, with maybe a red cardinal, placed just so, to set it off!

What we don’t show them is the way snow looks after it’s been sitting around for a while in town.

This April, summer made a brief premature appearance, completely removing all of the old, manky snowbanks, making the AuSable River rush like mad, and then retreating again, leaving us in what is called typical Adirondack spring weather. It is chilly and rainy, and that’s a relief. We’re not used to that much heat and light.

By next December we’ll have forgotten the bad side of snow and hope for a white Christmas, the way we do every year.

I am getting out of town, going to Colorado to see my brother and his family, the good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise. I’ll drive to Albany to spend the night with my friend Genny and her family, and then early in the morning (after waking up every hour on the hour to look at the clock), board that plane, and I’m out of here.

To Newark Airport, where I will sit around and then be directed to another plane to take me to Denver, where I will eventually embark for my destination.

Getting ready for the trip, I kept thinking how long it’s been since I flew. Not since 2020! I wondered why. Oh, yes, COVID! This happens all the time now. Everything is before Covid or after Covid. People say “I wonder why everybody buys toilet paper by the case now? And since when does it cost an arm and a leg? Oh yes, COVID.”

This kind of travel requires a lot of faith. Some people are just not up to it; they can’t passively place themselves in the hands of airplane pilots or train engineers or bus drivers. Statistically, travelphobes are often reminded, it is safer to fly than to drive your own car. “You could get hit by a semi truck while you’re crossing the street!” is another variation on this theme.

Travelphobes sense instinctively that for those people who died in plane crashes or sinking cruise ships or derailed passenger trains, the “chances really was a million to one” against them, to once again paraphrase the great bard Bob Dylan out of context. Statistically, the chance of being killed for each of these individuals was 100 percent. Not to put too fine a point on it.

For me, placing my life in the hands of pilots and engineers and ship captains and bus drivers is comforting. I’m happy to do it. OK, you drive and I’ll go back to daydreaming and reading my book and intermittently dozing off.

The anxiety of travel for me is all about the things leading up to this act of passive surrender, things that are, supposedly, under my control. Packing necessities. Trying to decide what necessities actually are, and wondering where I’ll go wrong this time. Arranging for the cats, Jupiter and Orangey, to be cared for. Doing laundry and housework, because for some reason I always decide this is the time to clean and organize everything I own. Leaving the house on time with my suitcase and–where’s my ticket?– driving for two hours to Albany or Burlington.

Oh, dear. Oh, dear. My daughter Molly would say, Mom, stop fretting! I’m not fretting. Yes, you are. What a relief when the plane takes off. It’s not so surprising that I am relieved to hand over all responsibility to the pilot. If you had to depend on someone like me to get everything done, you’d be relieved too.

Some people believe that the expression good Lord willing and the Creek don’t rise originated in the South and referred to the Creek Indians. Their logic is, a creek is just a little stream, and so how could a creek rising get in the way of travel plans? Those people did not experience Tropical Storm Irene in the Adirondacks.

Tomorrow morning, then, if all goes well, I’m off to Colorado. I can’t wait to see my family. Once I’m in the air and heading west, all these particular anxieties will be left behind.

Have a good week.


(Martha Allen lives in Keene Valley. She has been writing for the Lake Placid News for more than 20 years.)

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