Cycling New England: 25

Writers Without Money

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Hundreds of feet above the Hudson River on the Walkway Over the Hudson, I suddenly realize that my uncle Joe studied at Marist College on the right. He had originally intended to become a priest but quit when he started reading Emanuel Swedenborg and traded in the Vatican for an Emersonian worship of nature. He spent the rest of his life living in rural Pennsylvania, working as a carpenter, raising horses and painting landscapes. He failed as a painter but eventually had six children. Space and time are odd. A few hundred yards and a few decades away my uncle was a young man in his 20s. The Walkway Over the Hudson was still a dilapidated railroad bridge. I didn’t exist. Yet here I am, a failed writer and landscape photographer, contemplating the man who began a very similar path to my own many years before.

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