The Firetower on Hurricane Mountain was the boy’s last Institute for the Advancement of Humankind. It required a lot of planning but was an adventure to hike. As is usual with every Adirondack adventure, the boy with four first names, had to leave early in the morning in order to reach the spindly spider-like affair of rusted metal, with a strange little shack on top. The journey entailed an arduous hike through the woods to a wonderful flower-laden meadow, then over a few streams, following a path up by the sugarhouse, up again, and around a huge, steep cliff, a bald granite peak, worn, like an old man's scalp. The cliff signaled the half way point, and climbing became steeper and steeper through an ever thinning forest, until just scrub and rock remained.

He felt the harsh wind and weather on his face. It was scary, especially when static electricity and bolts of lightning flashed and thunder roared, but it was also exhilarating. Terry Michael felt energized and excited when he finally sat down to enjoy the view and his peanut butter sandwich, the reward for all his hard work. The effort was worthwhile. He was satisfied.


These private places were the fountainhead of Patrick Joseph -Terry Michaels’ thoughts and feelings. They provided a fertile ground where all things were animated—clouds formed figures through the tree canopy, birds and animals spoke to him, and most of all, his thoughts were given voices by the winds:


A boy's will is the wind's will 

And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.


The Institute for the Advancement of Humankind of then and now, were places, playful escapes where he began to commune with deep thoughts and the whispers of identity. The boy with four first names: Terry Michael who explored and climbed the mountain, while Patrick Joseph contemplated the beauty. He was beginning to understand the word, "happy."