“Part of living well is knowing when you’ve got it good.”

That’s the line that’s going to stick with me from Adrian Bonenberger’s memoir Afghan Post. He’s right, of course; war is a great teacher, and one of the unexpected lessons is the ability to appreciate those little things in life.

So, I’m going to say it, it’s been a good start to the year. A break from events has yielded lots of time in the seat and thus twenty thousand words and conceptual progress on the new book. Made some teaching plans for the summer, and I’m happy to be able to say I’ll be running a workshop at the Chautauqua Institution in August. And before I get back on the road for events (AWP next week, Virginia Festival of the Book and SUNY Geneseo in March, Syracuse in April), the weather cooperated and dumped a whole pile of snow. Back on the skis.


The Allegany Mountains south of Buffalo are the northernmost unglaciated set of hills east of the Mississippi. What does this mean? That ten thousand years ago massive chunks of ice didn’t rip the topsoil from this line of 2500′ hills, and so they are covered in trees and ripple like waves, a bit of misplaced Tennessee or West Virginia stuck up in New York, though off a Great Lake so the snow really comes.


The good people of the Art Roscoe Nordic Ski Area groom trails with a CAT and snowmobile, two or four channels as straight and true as you’ll find in any better known cross-country destination. The day I went the snow had just fallen so gently that the lattices of each giant flake propped up upon eachother like a poorly played game of Tetris. Blow on a stack and they scattered completely.


I skied all morning, wore myself out over 10 miles of work. The Art Roscoe trails aren’t steep (unglaciated, remember), require little herringbone to climb, but they persist, and when the parking area is at the summit, the piper is always paid at the end. The last two miles was all climb, and I collapsed like I had just won an Olympic medal at Sochi. Oh, I know when I’ve got it good.


Off to Seattle for AWP next week. I’m on a great panel with Warren Etheridge and Christa Parravani on Thursday afternoon – hope to see you there.

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