372The great pond analog of Mt. Analogue, Maine


Dear Internet,

7.26.2014. Ticked off 8 more streets north of the Maphattan Project. Here's the route we took:

route for July 26, 2014—136-137-138-139-141-142-143

Guess there's a little street we missed in Riverbank State Park, but we run there all the time (there's a nice track). And technically it's built on garbage landfill + the «street» is just a turnaround for busses.

J has some sort of fancy ap on her iPhone that tracks our route + also our pace + elevation, etc. Getting into Hamilton Heights it starts to get sort of hilly as evidenced by the below chart (we went back + forth on the east side before crossing back over St. Nicholas + doing Hamilton Heights—the neighborhood just north of us.

elevation + pacing

The enclave of Hamilton Heights along St. Nicholas + Edgecombe getting up into Sugarhill is 1 of our favorite neighborhoods of NYC. Doesn't feel like NYC ... there's lots of trees + the air seems fresh + quiet + still has the Harlem charm of yesteryear. As we've mentioned before, if we were gonna buy a place of our own in NYC, it would probly be in this hood.

market on 136th + Bdwy


impromptu flea market along W 136th


playing ball (park along W 137th)


façade on Frederic Douglas near E 138th


private mews along 138th (sign still says «walk your horses»)


façade on E 138th


corner on 139th


gates to City College, on W 139th


hanging out on W 139th


back alley full of bathtubs (St. Nick between 139th+ 140th)


Hook + Ladder 23 on W 140th
(built for horse + buggy fire carts, now owned by City College,
soon to be an art space (so a local resident told us))


Alexander Hamilton's house (who Hamilton Heights is named for) strangely out of place in St. Nicholas park (where it was relocated to)


throwing caution to the wayside on 142nd


dumpster along E 143rd


shrine along 143rd for someone who evidently liked Tequila


scaredy cat on 143rd

07.28.14. Now we're in Rome ... Maine, haha. Ithaca 2 weeks ago, Rome this week ... seems to be the summer of taking analogous microcosmic trips to faded empires in our New England backyard. Even New England, New York, etc ... it's as if they ran out of names or could only relate to things in relation to the old motherland.

... actually, Rome is the nearest town, but we're on some lake called The Great Pond, which evidently is The pond that On Golden Pond is based on. Not sure why they call them ponds in these parts as it's rather large, even by lake standards.

Surfed the leading edge of a front to get here ... driving rain the whole way. Stopped in Kittery, ME for a lobster roll + clam chowder + to reminisce on the year we spent once across the bridge in Portsmouth, NH ... tho we already reminisced about that back in 2008 when we drove up to gather the inventory of 3rd bed before splitting to Kenya.

Indian island on the Great Pond

Oriented ourselves with the great pond (by speed boat!) then took a swim in the green ethereal murk. Cast a line out + caught a bass (smallmouth or largemouth we can tell not) then ate it (talk about fresh ... it was still flipping around after we'd gutted + scaled it) along w/ some chantrelle mushrooms + a «whoopie dog» which is some sort of glorified ding dong/devil's dog thing that Maine types get all excited about. Slept with the sound of waves lapping + something that sounded like the mix between a wolf + a duck, which we're told was a loon, just not the stereotypical loon sound.

07.28. Still raining today ... sort of miserable out. Went out on the boat again + tried waterskiing. Got situated in the water, skis angled, leaned back + said «hit it» + jolted upright, but felt my hamstring pull so after a few seconds upright let go. It all felt so jarring, it was cold, we hadn't stretched + our left leg is already compromised from when we snapped our gracilis tendon in Sicily + in the past months it's been gimpy off + on. We probly didn't bend our knees or lean back far enough. We tried a few more times to get up ... but each time, that initial jolting sensation of standing felt funky on our charlie-horsed hamstring.

view from near the top of «The Mountain»

Rode around the lake, er, pond, then figured we better «walk it off» before our leg stiffened up, so went for a walk/run up "The Mountain" ... that's seriously the name of it, even on google maps. Started really pouring by the time we got back so just been bunkered in this cabin reading Mount Analogue by René Daumal. We like the idea of Mount Analogue ... but its execution perhaps is somewhat lacking. Then again, we are reading it in translation + [SPOILER ALERT] Daumal died while writing it, literally mid-sentence ... which is perhaps the most remarkable + fitting thing about the book.

reading Mount Analogue looking out over the pond

As the sub-title pretentiously says, Mount Analogue (the book) is: A Novel of Symbolically Authentic Non-Euclidean Adventures in Mountain Climbing. Mt. Analogue (the mountain) is an allegorical mountain, a metaphysical object that is revealed only to those that seek it. The expedition to scale it is ignited by an academic article the narrator writes «... a rather hasty study of the symbolic significance of the mountain in ancient mythologies.» This guy Sogol (Logos backwards) takes note of it + invites him on this expedition + they put together a team to climb the mountain, each member (12 of them—probly in analogy to the apostles) w/ his or her (yes, not completely sexist, tho the writing is fairly testosteroney ... there are women along, including Daumal's wife) field of expertise—a biologist, geologist, philosopher, poet, etc. ... Daumal being the 1 to keep the journal, from which the book is made. As the book goes along, the voice becomes increasingly 3rd person plural.

«In my imagination I did away with all the outward circumstances of my life and felt myself confined in ever tightening circles of anguish: there was no longer any "I" .... What does it mean, "I"? I couldn't succeed in grasping it. "I" slipped out of my thoughts like a fish out of the hands of a blind man, and I couldn't sleep.»

Speaking of fishing, while we are writing this, on a lawn chair looking out over The Pond, we have a line cast out with a bobber. Yesterday we caught a bunch of bass, mostly small, but the elusive brown trout still avoids us so we are changing up our tactic (using a bobber. Tho thanks to you, Internet, we see it is better to put the worm on the bottom ... only problem is that when we put it on the bottom, the little bass come along + nibble it to shreds.

You could re-write Mount Analogue to be about fishing rather than mountain climbing and in fact, Melville, Hemingway, et al already have ... the «big 1 that got away» ... of which we had 1 yesterday, a large bass that we glimpsed before it snapped our line ... but that is not something we'd expect U to believe. It is this vain ambition to conquer—to catch the big 1—that we must abandon, w/out abandoning the process of going about it. At times we have fished w/ no bait on our hook for this very reason ... for the experience of it ... for the idea of waiting knowing you'll never catch anything (tho there are some fish that will bite an empty hook ... forget what they are called—unless this is just my imagination, or adults were pulling my leg—but we member fishing for them on the Columbia river in our youth) ... googling now yields no conclusive results, or a proliferation of other junk that masks the truth.

seeing the pond thru the trees

Mount Analogue is sort of like a black hole, abiding by Einstein's special theory of Relativity (whether Daumal knows it or not). In the following diagram included in the book, the people on the ship think they are travelling in a straight line, but in fact (relative to an observer above) they are travelling in an arc. Mount Analogue effectively curves space, just like a large gravitational body.

from the ship's p.o.v., travelling between A and B is a straight line

Trippy, right? Like a naked singularity. Mount Analogue is a strange place in other regards + has other peculiarities, some by contrived definitions they establish (like that the peak must be inaccessible, but the base must be accessible) + others discovered ... for example they find out they are unable to photograph anything, all the photos they take of Mount Analogue come out blank. In this speculative regard it seems very Swiftian + also reminiscent of Edwin Abott's Flatland ... a book that certainly must've influenced Daumal. All sorts of hypothetical + metaphysical tid-bits + advice are doled out along the way (some cheesy + Motorcycle-Zenny), such as this (which we applied liberally to our gimpy hamstrung leg):

«If you slip or have a minor fall, don't allow yourself an instant's pause. Find your pace again as soon as you get up. In your mind take careful note of the circumstances of your fall, but don't let your body linger over what happened. [...] once it understands that it will inspire no pity that way, then it comes into line and obediently accomplishes its task.»

The book specially appealed to us cuz we used to be obsessed w/ rock-climbing. Tho high altitude mountaineering never really rocked our boat much ... never really saw the point of it (+ we are particularly pre-disposed to altitude sickness). You can see/learn more by traversing a mountain than by scaling it. But we liked rock-climbing for similar reasons of setting contrived goals for yourself, to climb what is nearly unclimbable + to push yourself to the next limit (which in rock-climbing would be grade, 5.10, 5.11, etc.) ... but mostly we did it for the excuse of what we saw along the way, like technical hiking.

The book also appealed to us cuz in the SSES book we are currently working on—that our brother left incomplete—the destination of his odyssey (paralleling Homer/Joyce) was the Himalayas, in particular Machapuchare—a 7000 meter unclimbed peak ... unclimbed cuz it's sacred to the Hindus (evidently Shiva lives there or something). And there's a story w/in the story (they have downtime by the campfire or on the ship getting there so they take turns spinning yarns) about 2 twin brothers that are both mountaineers. Their father doesn't know which is eldest, that should succeed him, to whom he would «hand on the great knowledge» .... so he tells them (both accomplished mountaineers) that whoever retrieves a mythical bitter rose (found only on the top of the highest peak) would be his successor. 1 of the brother dies in the quest, or becomes a «Hollow-Man» which are some sort of mythical beings that live in the mountains + the other brother kills this Hollow-Man + then inhabits his body + becomes the combined force of both brothers, both w/ their combined skill set that allows them to get this bitter rose. This is sort of what we feel like writing SSES ... that we need to re-inhabit our brother's body, together becoming «Chaulky».

along the shore of the pond

It's strange how digital has come to be the opposite of analog ... a term we doubt existed in Daumal's time. We've come to regard digital solutions as more comprehensive or advanced, when in fact there's a certain information loss in going from analog to digital, beyond just the kitschy charm (of, say, listening to vinyl), that harks back to the wave-particle duality we talked about in the last post. Altho in theory, the particle/digital model might be more statistically complete, there's information in the way analog waves interact that is uncapturable. Or if blown up, it becomes pixelated (aesthetically not as interesting as enlarging a film negative + having it be grainy). So while computers + U, the Internet, are digital entities, is there a way to introduce analog ambiguity?

In the afternoon we took a kayak out past Hoyt + Indian islands to Crooked Island, where we beached the kayak + took a swim. Then lazed about writing this.

 > 373 > Mainely letting milk + fish sleep while the capracious cult kilgores


[  (ɔ)om.Posted 2014  derek white  |  calamari press   ]