Thursday, July 26, 2007


A couple of weeks ago I took a 3-hour boat tour around the island of Manhattan, all 36 miles of it. The glamorous parts came at the beginning, passing by Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty/downtown, and then the east-side BMW bridges (Brooklyn/Manhattan/Williamsburg?). I snapped pictures of all these bigtime sites and then kind of got lazy the further north and west we got. But I'm kicking myself now for a shot I didn't catch just at the northern tip of the island... I forget what bridge it was near, but someone had built a sturdy lean-to shack for himself, nestled in the brush. It reminded me of reading "Huckleberry Finn" back in college, how Huck and his n'er-do-well dad lived in a shanty by the river... Obviously back then (the early/mid-1800s) it was a lot easier to just go off and build yourself a shack and scrabble by, without any interference from the government, etc., telling you you couldn't build a shack there... So how did this guy manage to pull it off in 2007 at the tip of Manhattan? I grew up way out in the country and so building "forts" and "hideouts" and "clubhouses" is ingrained in me. Just like the idea of the shack-by-the-river is...

Yet, when it comes down to the actuality of it... The soul core of me would do it, and has done it, perhaps, if you believe in reincarnation. But my current self---yeah, right! Of course not.

What's funny is that my close friends back in Austin, those who'd known me for over 15 years, also made fun of the idea of ME camping out or hiking or what-have-you. In truth, when I didn't camp out or hike with them, it was 'cause of the crowd. I've never been camping or hiking, but I would like to, very much. Just, not in a "whooo-hooo, we're going camping!" kind of way, with the clowns of the group being loud and stupid and everyone making a production of how "we're going camping." They don't seem to get the concept of actually being QUIET. Of walking around and LOOKING and just BEING without imposing yourself on your surroundings. Of just looking up and seeing the stars at night, where the magnitude of what you're seeing makes you forget yourself.(Everyone in cities forgets that there are stars, 'cause light pollution has drowned them out---actually seeing billions of stars makes you quiet and awestruck.)

Oh yeah---as the cruise around Manhattan continued on the west-side, our boat got mooned by a bunch of kids hanging out on the shore... Didn't get a picture of that (except mentally) either!

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