You really needn’t feel so ashamed of yourself in the matter of correspondence, since you surely didn’t owe me much of a letter, judging by my last two or three!
You are right when you surmise that I have been rushed and busy—more so than ever, since the beginning of 1932. My life is getting almost crowded, in fact. The job, of course, takes eight hours a day straight out, and everything else has to be jammed into the fringes. Since I can’t satisfy mind, soul, or body with the job, I have to jam into the fringes almost as much as another person would put into an entire day.
You want TALK. Well, I’ll try my best, and as there are a few more news items now than usual, maybe I can fill the bill a bit.
First, Helen’s book is getting to that thrilling point. She has received proof of the illustrations—great illustrations they are, looking like very clever woodcuts—and Macmillan has done a surprisingly good job of the reproductions. But since she will doubtless tell you all about this herself, maybe I’d better concentrate on other things.
The more important thing I have to contribute is that Lost Island creepeth onward, in spite of God and the Devil (represented by various personages, of course!).… Read more
Dartmouth Outing Club Moosilauke Summit Camp [New Hampshire] October 4, 1932
I have so much catching up to do that I’m not even going to try! Someday, though, I’ll tell you the things that have been happening—the curious, joyous upheavals my life has undergone, and the gipsy-like ways I’ve been living, and so on.
Right now my object is the transmissal of the enclosed letter to W. F. (which I should be glad to have you read if you care to). It may be that you have no idea whatever of his whereabouts. In that case, merely destroy it, as circumstances are not opportune for writing to him through Helen. If you can get the letter to him in any way, and if he answers it, I want the answer to come through you, as I don’t want just yet to give him the address which I’ll give you at the end of this.
All this sounds terribly complicated and mysterious, doesn’t it? But you see, I’ve jumped many hurdles of late, and want to be cautious. I’ve jumped the whole structure of what life was before: I’ve jumped the job, jumped my love, jumped parental dependence, jumped civilization—made a pretty clean break—and am happier than for years and years.… Read more
℅ Howard Crosse 834 DeGraw Avenue Newark, New Jersey [undated, but ca. mid-late October, 1932]
You wanted to hear from me promptly—right away, return air mail and all that. But, you see, in the rather odd kind of life I’m living right now, such things can’t be done. When your letter was forwarded to me, I was—well, where was I, anyway? Williamstown Mass., I guess—just in from a week’s stretch of Green Mountains. The next day we pulled out, hitch-hiking. I’m in New York now, at the apartment, but only till about tomorrow. Then I light out again.
Now I’m in Brookline, Mass., clearing up a few earthly details before sailing for a little island off the coast of Spain—if you can believe that! No wonder you are puzzled. The reason I didn’t try to go into any sort of detail in my first letter was that I wanted—well, to sort of feel around first, if you see what I mean.
However, before I go any further with this, I want to tell you how tremendously I was pleased with your news, which is at least as exciting as mine, only in a different way. That is, the good heart sings for you.… Read more
Your good letter came yesterday, and needless to say I’m tickled to hear that you aren’t sitting in the fig-tree, that you are all alive and well, and that the Wolf is house broken (Oh, most admirable phrase!)
I am sitting at a little table on the sidewalk, waiting for a train to France, which leaves in an hour and a half. Beside me sit a knapsack and a small suitcase—our total luggage.
You are absolutely right, my dear, in resenting my not having taken you more into confidence. Try to believe that it wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to tell you all about it, as that I was all up in the air myself, not sure just what was happening and not knowing where to start or what to say in any event. It is bewildering to completely change one’s life all in a minute. Do forgive me.
In brief, here is the story: I met this “mysterious figure N. Rogers” summer before last, when H. and I were living in that little cabin in Vermont. Then he showed up again that winter in New York, and we became good friends. He helped me through some trying times.… Read more
In the summer of 1931, Barbara, Nick Rogers, and two friends spent some time camping and exploring the Katahdin area of Maine. Later, Barbara wrote about her relationship with the great mountain entitled Rocks.
Transcribing Rocks was a moving experience for me. I’ve climbed Katahdin three times and remember many of the landmarks Barbara describes: Chimney Pond, The Chimney, The Monument, Pamola Peak, and, of course, Knife-Edge, one of the more exhilarating 1.1 miles of trail I’ve walked. Here’s a taste of what it’s like, with thanks to YouTube user roh92cp:
This was the “Knife-Edge” of Mount Katahdin. It was a ragged edge of rock suspended in a space of clouds.
I was trying to climb backwards down a bristling hump, and the foothold I had got up by seemed to have vanished. I felt for it helplessly with one foot. I couldn’t see below, because the rocks were in the way. There seemed nothing to do. I clung, trembling a little. All around, great swift drops into space that swirled with mist. Everything was wet–grasses and hardy vines were pearled with small drops; so were my hair and eyelashes.
I took a chance, and jumped, backwards, for a narrow ledge below.… Read more