September 07, 2010

Suddenly, Last Summer

Before I knew it, this summer has become last summer.

And I feel like I didn't really have a summer at all.

If it's even possible, I was lonelier this year than last year. After returning home from Joshua Tree last year, I set out on a full attack of all of New York City's parks and hiking trails that only screeched to a halt when I was grabbed in Inwood Hill Park. But I squeezed a lot in. If no one was available to accompany me, I went alone. I was used to hiking alone back then.

But this year, I didn't want to be alone anymore. I started dating again after two years of celibacy, and after a few romantic encounters on both coasts, I couldn't understand why I ever had to be alone again.

The problem is, my refusal to do things around the city alone didn't mean I wasn't alone. I was just alone in my apartment, working hard for clients who weren't always paying me, working hard to find a real job, working hard to find a place to live, to find a life.

And now looking back, I realize that waiting for a companion means I'll be waiting forever. If I want to swim in Astoria Pool, I'll have to go alone. (And I'll have to go next summer.) If I want to visit Coney Island, or Storm King Arts Center, or the Captain Lawrence brewery, or the Mount Beacon Historic Incline Railway, I'll have to go alone.

If I'm going to be alone either way, I might as well have an interesting life to reflect on.

Unfortunately, I lost my entire month of August to crisis, save for a weekend along the Delaware River where, thank God, I got to shoot guns for a few hours and escape the drama of my own life. In fact, the most memorable moments from my summer occurred outside of New York this year, with over three weeks spent in California.

Granted, as a freelancer, the summer is less about work schedules and more about the weather. And I'm sure we'll have a few more weeks of sunny, hike-worthy weather before the rain and cold descends upon us. But I can't help but have that same feeling I had as a kid, going back to school, having spent most of my summer alone in the house, dreading the stories about everybody else's time at the beach and road trips, amusement parks and barbecues.

And I have nothing to report but regret and loneliness.

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1 comment:

  1. Dear Sandi, if you join Sierra Club or ADK or NY/NJ Trail Conference or Appalachian Mt. Club, you'll never again have to hike alone.

    It's too late to visit Mt. Beacon incline railway. It was completely obliterated by fire nearly 30 years ago. I rode on it in the 1960's. Funiculi, Funicula, Funicular!

    Now all that can be seen are a few rusted gears, cables and broken brick walls. Nonetheless, it's a fine hike up to a creaky old fire tower with great views.