Monthly Archives: July 2013
All things begin. All things end.
Janelle and I have felt uneasy lately, eager to return to the hills, the source of our energy and friendship. Ironically, the duties of the book have kept us from hiking. And so, as we begin a week that will surely be a busy and crucial few days (two interviews and two readings in four days), the girl and I vowed that we were going to do something about it.
We decide to burn our marzipan hiker images. Wait, wait. Don’t be horrified.
The beautiful Tibetan tradition of offering prayer flags as blessings to the wind came to mind as we talked about how to “reset” our heads back toward the natural world that we both love. It is said that the Buddhist mantras affixed to the flags are carried by the wind across the countryside, and, just as a drop of water can permeate the ocean, the prayers are thought to dissolve into the wind and all beings touched by that wind are uplifted. Prayer flags are often either left to dissolve back into nature or are burned so the smoke may carry the flags’ blessings to the world.
Whatever your belief, or not, that seems like a very fine tradition.
Our marzipan hikers were important reminders of each of our commitments to projects that held deep and life-changing meaning to us. Meenakshi created my marzipan image to commemorate the completion of a 2011 hiking project calling the 48 in 30. I spent a month hiking all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4,000 foot mountains to raise money and awareness for the Holy Cross Family Learning Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching English and citizenship skills to refugees.
Janelle’s marzipan effigy was built by her aunt, and used to celebrate her amazing 52 With a View commitment and accomplishment.
The two creations have chilled in our fridge at the cabin since the completion of these two goals.
This weekend, at our annual camping trip with Meena and Aaron, as well as the twins’ best friends, Meg and Ian, Janelle and I rededicated our commitment to our love of nature and our friendship, by sacrificing the creations. Closing one door with a fire of renewal, allowing us to open a new portal to a new adventure.
I feared at first that Janelle would be reluctant. She adores her aunt, and our marzipan hikers held very real significance to both of us. But she understood almost immediately, and in fact was the one to bring them to the fire pit. I carefully built a box fire, and placed an old, crumbling chair above the fire to give the marzipan hikers a final throne.
Then, together, my spider monkey and I reached into the pit and lit the fire. The other kids spontaneously held aloft hand-made torches as a salute. I put my arm around my friend, and together we watched the flames devour our past, and the smoke drift up and over the cabin and disappear into the wind.
“For all we’ve done, for as far as we’ve come,” I whispered to Janelle. “For all our new adventures.”
“Everyone around will have good luck now,” she said.
There were no tears. How could there be? We were there, with the people we loved, about to cook smores over the flames of the fire of our purification. We are as strong as we’ve ever been. We head to White Birch Books in Conway on Tuesday, and Littleton Library on Wednesday. We will reach out and meet new people, and bring the story of our friendship to whomever will listen.
And on Wednesday morning, in between those two events, we will hike, someplace. We’ll get dirty. We’ll smell like bug spray. We’ll eat PB&J and we will rejoice in the trail, and the mountains, and in being together.
We are renewed.
Just a big thank you this morning to the kind folks at the Ragged Mountain Fish and Game Club who welcomed us Saturday for an amazing event, BBQ and swim at the Andover club. This is one classy organization, and they know how to throw a picnic as well.
Here are some shots from our wonderful evening. Thanks again to everyone there, in particular Tom Eid and his family and their fine hospitality!
On Saturday, the family will head to a BBQ in Andover. Buffalo and Tough Cookie have been invited to speak to the Ragged Mountain Fish and Game Club, and the good folks over there offered us seats at their, no doubt, delicious picnic as well. We’re thrilled and honored to stop by at such events, and the next few months will be full of them.
Meantime, we search for a day where we can actually hike. And it looks like that will be next week, stay tuned!
So, today, while our tour gains speed and the boiling weather keeps us near the AC, I thought I’d appeal to you, our fans, during a mini-follower drive. We’re looking for likes to our Facebook page and subscribers here to our site. Both places have become active and engaged communities thanks to your participation. If you already are part of the fun, thank you!
If not, Janelle and I would love to have you on board. There’s no spam. We don’t sell our email lists. You won’t be bombarded by junk mail.
We just like having a strong community behind us and we’re always looking for ways to grow.
FACEBOOK: If you’re not already signed on, and you use Facebook, stop over at our page and give us a like. We’ll have pictures, and nearly daily updates as to our events. And when we reach 450 followers, we’ll even give away some t-shirts and other cool things. We can’t wait to see you, follow this link and hit LIKE when you get there: Buffalo and Tough Cookie’s Facebook Page
TWITTER: Do you Tweet? Dan has an active Twitter account which he uses at events and during outings. It allows our community to chat with each other, sometimes in real time. And Dan will follow you back as well. So, Buffalo and Tough Cookie conversations can be found at #bandtc. If you’d like to subscribe to Dan’s Twitter feed, just follow this link: danjszczesny
WEBSITE: You can subscribe to this website. Just type in your email to the follower line directly to the right of this post, and you’ll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Click confirm and you’re in! If you are a subscriber here, every time a new post, like this one, goes up, you’ll be notified.
AMAZON: We’re excited that the book is garnering some pretty awesome reviews over at Amazon. If you’ve already read the book, we’d love to hear what you think about it, good or bad. Buffalo and Tough Cookie would be very grateful to any of our fans who take the time to write a quick review. You can check out the current reviews, and add your own, here: Amazon Reviews
Finally, Buffalo and Tough Cookie have a straight forward, email list, used occasionally to announce a big event or fun happening. If you’d like to be on that list, just drop Dan an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line write, “email list subscription” and you’ll be put in.
So, we’re out there, and we want to reach each and every one of you! Thanks for being a part of this, and let’s get outside!
Starting tonight, Janelle and I (and sometimes Meena and Aaron) will hit the road to begin our summer/fall tour in support of the book. In the next few months we’ll travel to libraries in Littleton, Conway, Goffstown and Grafton, Mass. We’ll go as far south as Mystic, Conn. We’ll lead hikes in Rhode Island and at Blue Hill Observatory just outside Boston. We’ve been invited to BBQs and Red Hat Societies.
And that’s just what’s confirmed. We’re working on gigs in Vermont and Maine to make it a full sweep for New England. With luck, we’ll show up at the Highland Center.
Janelle and I will return to the road, just as we had when we were climbing. This time our goal will be to spread our message of kid power, and our love of hiking. But of course, we’ll just end up enjoying spending time together.
We begin tonight, in our home town, with a drop-in signing event at EMS at the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester. We’ll be there from 7-8:30. Keep it casual. Introduce yourself. Tell us what you have planned for the weekend, or for next year, or on your bucket list.
Mostly, we’re looking forward to meeting the people who have supported us from the beginning. We want to say thank you in person.
Here’s a link to all the events we have planned thus far. See if there’s one near you: Buffalo and Tough Cookie Tour Schedule
Meanwhile, we’ll try to get some hikes in. Janelle is eager to tag a couple 4,000 footers. There’s some Urban Explorations we’ve had our eye on. We roll on, this happy team of misfits. Come out and say hi!