April is out for blood, enthusiastically vengeful. Maybe March, finally furious, maddened by its warm, comfy tenure, hired a hitmonth. Whatever, we’re watching this last week draw a damp, cold cut across the jubilee of climbing we had so early embraced. Yesterday’s walk to the Amphitheatre spied nothing worth climbing, and the path was polka-dotted with clumps of coagulated snow at every cliff. Whether the weather or something other is to blame for the funkiness, I’m in a moody mood.

Maybe Levon is at fault. I’ve had his craggy southern voice crooning in my head since the day he died. I don’t usually feel so linked-in to the music crowd, but this year, he and I, in one of those strange coincidences, almost met. Sort of. Which tells you just how close we weren’t. After working one of those cold Catskill guiding days, I was heading homeward, listening to a local radio station, when the announcer mentioned a concert at Levon’s place, going on that very night. I knew that concert wasn’t far away. Literally at a crossroad, I contemplated turning to hunt the place down and join in. But weariness and homesickness pulled rank and pushed me back to Thurman. For some reason, I was disappointed to miss this one. Now perhaps, I know why.

Don’t ask me what the connection is. I’m about as Yankee as they come. But I miss that man.

It surely has something to do with my erstwhile employer. I’ve banged my head against a corporate wall for three fruitless years. I made a big investment in time and money, wooing another hopeless cause. Finally admitting that it was a bad investment stings a bit. I’ve gone through the denial, the rage; now I’m floundering in the surrender phase.

Aging doesn’t help matters. This winter has been rough, in a beat-the-old-guy-with-a-club kind of way. In-the-knees, specifically. They were unhappy companions all winter, and continue nagging me now. There are several key skills my lifestyle (and career!) cannot be without, and bipedal transportation is one of them. Aching through the days puts a dent in one’s enjoyment of anything, and the foresight I’ve acquired regarding physical decay doesn’t paint a rosy picture up ahead. Ignorance, in this case, would be better, if not bliss.

All the funk will pass, soon enough. It has to. The sky will clear, it’ll get warm. My knees are responding well to therapy. I’m getting old, but I’m still able. Levon is gone, but I can still hear him singing. There’s a long list of things to do (miles to go, and all that, Mr. Frost): Lord willing, there will be time to do most of it.

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