Friday, December 29, 2006

A Sense of Sight

Today I will continue with senses series exploring sight. I’ve seen some remarkable things, as I’m sure we all have. Most remarkable are the Northern Lights, the clear water in a Canadian lake and off South Point, Hawaii. I’ve seen commits and falling stars. I’ve seen famous people. I’ve seen many beautiful faces and especially beautiful eyes. I’ve seen myself as I age. I’ve seen art and nature, whales and eagles. I’ve seen a man get hit by a train.

So how does one come up with a thing of beauty that is best when there is so much competition? It’s hard, but it is possible. I actually have a very odd favorite and this is because of not only what happened, where it happened, when it happened and who I was at the time.

I’ve mentioned that I worked for a Catholic seminary, and I lived on the property as well. The grounds were about 350 acres for the main part, and another thousand or so acres across the river.

Being that it snowed in New Jersey, you had to get out in it or you would get cabin fever by the time February came around. Sometimes I would go Cross Country Skiing, but with all that property at my disposal my friend and I got a couple of snow mobiles. We would ride through the estate and sometimes we would slip over to the thousand acre tract across the river. Once there we could connect up with what is known as the Tennessee Pipeline, which was a 150 foot wide swatch through the oak and maple forests that went on for miles. Actually the damn thing went all the way to Tennessee. Riding the pipeline was fun because we could open the machines up and travel over 60- miles per hour over the snow blanket.

Back then before snowmobiles had heaters one stayed warm by tucking their legs up under the shell of the hood where the heat of the engine would be blown back. We also wore helmets with face shields which not only kept your head warm, but it blocked the sound as well.

One night my friend talked me into taking the machines to Ringwood, a town about 25 miles away. It was a beautiful winter night, and we drove our way through the old roads and paths through the woods, to gain access to the pipe line. We went all the way to Ringwood, where we stopped and broke out the thermos of some hot chocolate and basked in the glory of a winter night.

It was time to get back home, so we started the machines and turned them homeward. As we did it began to snow. It was a nice dry snow, a beautiful snow that didn’t stick to our face shields. Our head lights illuminated our path ahead and the harder it snowed the less of the path we could see. Over the next 15 miles or so it looked as though we were in outer space and snow flakes were like stars shooting past us. Soon all we could see were the flakes. It was an odyssey and a sight I’ll never forget. There was all this white illuminated by the headlights with a night black background.

Sometimes I will be driving back home from Portland and I'll encounter snow on the pass. Sometimes I'll be the only car on the road and the snow will come down like stars. The two headlights remind of my earlier days when there were two headlights of snow mobiles cruising through the darkness of the Ramapo Mountains. I felt so free back then.


Blogger Mom of Three said...

Your stories are the best argument for having varied experiences in life. You've seen so many things in places other people have missed for love of staying by the heater.

Sometimes the decision to get out in the cold create a new way of looking at life.

10:17 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I am filled with guilt that I don't have as many adventures as I did...even five years ago. I haven't even been in one of the kayaks in the last five years, and I love spending time on the water...which reminds me of a good blog story. I haven't roped down into some of the canyons in the upper part of the Lewis and Clark River in 10 years. I need to get back out there...once I get warmed up ; )

6:56 AM  

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