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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Winter Waterfalls, Winter Tremors, Winter Blues, and Winter Dreams: Hope for a Cold January and February Day when Christmas is Done!

          I’m not a fan of the coming of cold weather. November is all Melville to me. It’s cold, dark, drizzly feel sucks. Once the leaves fall off the trees, the latter part of the year sucks. The earlier quarter of the year also sucks until the daffodils, magnolias, and assorted greens reappear. While snowdrops (a flower – not a snowflake) can be beautiful, they start pushing up way too early to represent optimism. Instead, they’re a clever ruse in late December to make people believe in spring when it’s still 80 days away.
This is not my favorite.
However, there is one excellent thing about the year’s finale, and that is not New Year’s Eve. While I appreciated things like seeing Phish countdown 1998 into 1999, kicking off with Prince’s song of the same name, I’m well past going out bar hopping like I did in the early and mid-1990s while stationed in England. Frankly, I’ve threatened to fall asleep on Ryan Seacrest every year, but I never do. Maybe this can be the first year. Then again…
No, December is for cookies, trees, presents, lights, and all things Christmas, and for this, I look forward to the final happy family bash of the year for its style and memories.
To put it simply, I love decorating for Christmas, and I really like seeing how my wife functions with her Perfect Ornament Placement Disorder to make our 3 (yes, 3) artificial trees beautiful (allergies, costs, and waste led us this route). I also love going places that are decorated, whether the old Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania, I grew up in, or Longwood Gardens or just walking down the main street of Ephrata, Pennsylvania, which is all done up in lights and wreaths. Additionally, I love celebrating Christmas, and I really love looking forward to Christmas even if I won’t be getting a Death Star (maybe just Star Wars Battleship). And finally, I love being with family for Christmas, and I love it even more knowing that my 3-year old godson Big D will be thrilled opening his presents, especially since we got him a Giga Ball, which will hands-down be the best present he gets that isn’t a John Deere riding tractor.
            Seeing the Giga Ball makes me wish I was less than 150 pounds so I could jump inside of it, too!
            However, for all I love of Christmas, I don’t like the cold – at all. I’ve gotten more used to it over time, but I don’t like the wind. I don’t like the rosy-red cheeks and ears, and I really don’t like digging out from blizzards though I do like the sight of falling snow and peaceful winter scenes. Nevertheless, we’re talking about getting a snow blower to make things a little easier on us this year. This is a serious concern with my left arm and leg Parkinson’s issues and my Lyme lethargy.

Nevertheless, for all that is my dread of winter, I do like frozen waterfalls, and I really like taking pictures of them. Prior to my diagnosis, but after my symptoms, I did Ricketts Glen in winter twice. The first time was from the top. The second time was from the bottom. It was that good. I also did Glen Onoko in winter, which was an amazing site.
Right now, I’m dreaming and hoping to be able to do that this year, but it really depends on a few things. Number one is that the Polar Vortex (registered trademark) hits and grinds the gears of the beautiful waterfalls of Pennsylvania and New York to a stop. For frozen waterfalls, I’d take this, but I really don’t like the oil bill that comes with it. Thus, on second thought…
So if it’s coming, then bring it on. To do this, we will also need some snow to get things really winter hiking festive. I don’t want so much that I sink balls deep into slush like I did at Ludlowville Falls a few years ago pushing out to the waterfall cave and the hoarfrost on the ceiling, but enough that the pictures look good. A solid 4 inches will be nice.
I’ve got the gear to do it safely with my symptoms. Oh yes, I’ve got the crampons, Micro Spikes, ice axe, rope, under layers of clothing, over layers of clothing, and the heart, but what I don’t know is where I stand with my Lyme disease lethargy and future treatment plan. See, in the treatment of that, the question is will I have an IV in me for a month because if I do, that would suck for the only good part of winter.

            Sure, there are paths like at Taughannock in Ithaca where it’s possible to just walk in and enjoy, but Lucifer’s Falls would be a don’t risk it with the potential for balance falls. Now, I wouldn’t care about a fall on the ice or snow if I didn’t have a needle in my arm for a month, but with one. Oh, hell now. Rickett’s Glen would also be a really don’t risk it proposition, so I should just stop thinking about that altogether and instead watch videos of descents into Horseshoe Canyon to live out my World Petroglyph Tour visit in August.

Simply put, if the worst case scenario happens (IV), I might just want to confine myself to flat paths looking at frozen lakes, which will make for a much longer winter. Then again, maybe I should just watch Youtube videos of other people’s journeys since I won’t be having any of my own.
            Even if it means getting better, I’m not looking forward to that at all since the change of seasons plays havoc with my mind. Unless I have dreams to look forward to, it can be a long winter. Perhaps I can do the reading and writing, but the claustrophobia and confinement of being indoors is also not my favorite.
            Hence, I need some good luck to either get some quick mega IV doses via needle out with some big ol' horse pills for a month. Heck, I’ll take the 2 together even, but I’d prefer not to have a 4-week IV adventure. Personally, seeing as I’m willing to do a spinal tap, no questions asked, I think that’s a fair trade. While I’ll do whatever I have to do because a stoic must believe that the universe is always right and I must accept my role and play it the best I can, let’s just say this won’t make me a happy camper.
            As is, for those of you who don’t know, my Parkinson’s makes my tremors shake extra fast. It also seems to bring out a lot of extra muscle twitching on my left side. Lately, my left arm has been bouncing to the beat of an imaginary drum at a techno club. While Eminem says that “nobody listens to techno,” it seems like my arm and leg still do. That, too, is not my favorite.
            So here I sit, dreaming about winter hiking, contemplating my movement and balance through the winter world to come, and I’m not sure if I should even be tempting myself with this. Like Jim Lovell, I could easily lose the moon on this one, but something tells me that there’s good things to come. I’ve been working on my karma and saying positive. I’m believing in the good things to come.
            For this, I’m Ricketts Glen in winter dreaming, pushing through the obstacles while I still can because it’s what I need to do. For visions of glory, wouldn’t you (no matter what’s holding you back)?

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