Sunday Morning In Highwood Hills
Trudging through deep snow covered with microscopic
crystalline flecks of ice tinged with a bluish glare,
the sound of my L.L. Bean boots crunching the snow
triggered a flashback, - a hike my brother and I took at Christmas.
Two teens from Queens rode the IRT to the
which glittered before day-break, a twinkling giant brassiere.
Hitch-hiked to the Shawagunks trail wearing surplus
white paratrooper ski parkas and carrying arctic-down sleeping bags
designed for forty below zero in our knapsacks.
We slogged along in three feet of snow heading for the pinnacle
sweat, I was soon as exhausted as the soldier carrying
the “fuggin” anti-tank bazooka in “The Naked And The Dead”.
Pleading for a rest, my brother, who became Admiral Byrd
racing to the North Pole, commanded: “You must go on!”
I responded: “But I can’t go on!” (sounding like characters in a Beckett drama)
He told me that falling asleep in the snow would result
in certain death, finally bribing me to move on with the promise of
half a can of his
My brother, the Eagle Scout, snared a jack-rabbit, we
cooked a pot of Hunter’s Stew, toasted marshmallows
and sang rounds of: “Oh how lovely is the evening.”
The night sky was alive, hemorrhaging shooting stars like
the pyrotechnical display over the
We saw the Dippers, Orion’s Belt and the Milky Way,
falling asleep under the coruscating light of the North Star.
I dreamt of lying in the midst of a Lenape Indian war dance.
Awakened at dawn by a herd of deer stomping their feet
and nuzzling my frozen nose, clouds of vapor escaping from
their nostrils, an ethereal scene which made me
wonder if I was still lost in a dream.
Milton P. Ehrlich