walking in the woods on a beautiful saturday morning, as today, reminds me of wandering the woods on beautiful saturday mornings in the past, specifically the woods outside new paltz in the 80s and 90s, when it was still possible to walk in unaccosted for money. you were expected to pay money, of course, but locals knew where the boundaries to the park were the most porous, and back then it was unlikely that anyone who even smelled official would stop you since, well, who's to say you hadn't bought a daypass but lost it? later, after I had married again, I would walk into these places with our little black dog and a book and strip down and immerse myself in cold spring pools and read until the day turned too dark to read and too cold to sit.
but in my febrile imagination the real reason was that no one could be faulted for wandering anywhere for free on gorgeous days when the most important thing in the world was to be alive and moving in the sun and over rocks and moss and dipping into pools of water. no one, I imagined then, could begrudge someone a walk in the sun. it is still possible, of course, to do this, but as of my last couple visits to the area, not through the same old places. I presume the current locals have places to sneak through, but I couldn't blame them for not sharing them with old farts from 30 years before.