The last time that I was off-Island overnight was back in the beginning of September. We stayed two nights in Whitehall and two in Troy. Both have waterfronts with long histories of vital roles in the early years of New York and of the United States.

One is on the Champlain Canal where it joins Lake Champlain and the other is on the Hudson River at its confluence with the Mohawk River. That countryside is very appealing to me, partly because of its proximity to that big lake and to that big river. We spent some of the days driving along the twisting dirt back roads among farmlands, dense forests and huge swamps. When traveling, I like to imagine which house would be ours and what I would do for work if we lived there. I like to think that I would be baling hay out in one of those big rolling fields or opening the flood gates of one of the canal locks. But we are just observers and outsiders.

Getting out into the big world is revitalizing for me. I’m eager to get back out there again to see new scenery, but I’m not going anywhere soon with the Covid running rampant. So instead, I have endeavored to look at the scenery of the islands as if they are new to me. I try to appreciate the details in the same old things that I’ve seen every day for years as if they are new to my sight. It’s starting to work. I sometimes can create the sensation that I’m back in New York state on one of those back roads but with the added benefit that I have a house to go home to and an interesting job as well.

I wondered why I have become so adept at transporting myself mentally to another part of the country. Then I realized that perhaps it’s because these days, half of the license plates that I see are from that state.