For the past five years or so, Sean and Reed and I have had a standing invitation to join our friends Pam, Bob F., Hannah, Tommy, Reneta, Cynthia, and Bob D. in renting a farmhouse upstate over MLK weekend. It’s a big ramshackle house on Route 81 in the Catskills, with woods in the back, and comfortable rooms for all, and rich, buttery sunlight streaming from every window.
In case you missed the friendly sign out front, there’s one in the kitchen too.
Our weekends together always feature hikes in the woods (and, on this occasion, “hole bowling”).
This is what happens if you risk telling Bob that you’re bored in the woods:
We didn’t see much snow this time, but there was plenty of ice. Hannah brought back the prettiest pieces (“Look! This one has bubbles in it!”) and rinsed them in the kitchen sink and stored them in the freezer.
Perhaps the awesomest feature of the weekend is music. There’s an official song list and a notebook of lyrics. The more dedicated among us learn the songs in advance. The less dedicated are the appreciators. And there’s a lot to appreciate. We have some professionals in the group.
There is, of course, a plethora of food and drink. Everyone contributes to the larder and takes turns making meals and cleaning up. My favorite meal is Snack.
I am also fond of Drink.
So it goes without saying that there’s a lot of conversation and conviviality.
But there’s time and space for solo efforts as well.
This year we paid an impromptu visit to some wonderful friends of Bob’s, who offered us green tea with honey and marshmallow fluff for the kids and even had a minor pack of llamas. Meet Maggie, lover of carrots and possessor of surprisingly silky ears:
Oases don’t happen often. The secret is to savor them when they do.