October 07, 2008
Dear TNB Readers,
I took a walk and some photos for you the other day. Things have been a little off balance—my life, the news headlines, the private lives of those I know.
Mercury, you should know, is in retrograde.
In one sweeping 48-hour period, while swamped in deadlines, my car broke, my cell phone met an early death, my e-mail was spammed, the bike I was riding from the mechanic to the library got not one but two flats, and the library was closed.
I sat down in the grass, offered my palms to the sky and said, “Okay.”
The sky, it turns out, was a brilliant blue. It was a brilliant day.
Since you can’t all come here and experience the October beauty of the Adirondacks, I thought it might help those of you also experiencing similar disheartening days, if I took a Sunday walk for you, took some autumn pictures.
We start at the John Brown Farm.
It’s an interesting juxtaposition—the history of this family, this country, and one of the most beautiful vistas I know.
Your guide for the day is Tucker. He thinks fall smells particularly exhilarating.
When walking in the woods this time of year, leaves rustle en mass under foot.
You have to stop, stand still, to hear the birds.
And look at the sky.
Now, this beech tree may seem plain in comparison to the reds and yellows right now, but come winter, it’s the only deciduous tree still holding its leaves. When these woods are loaded in snow with only a palette of white, brown and green, the dried bronze of the beech leaves will appear decadent. When the wind blows and you’re standing under this tree, it will sound like autumn once more.
Up in the fields, we find a High Peaks vista.
This is the tallest mountain in New York, home to the headwaters of the Hudson River. It was once called Tahawus, a native American term for “cloudsplitter” (which is also the name of the novel Russell Banks wrote about John Brown). Like most mountains, it’s now named after a dead politician: Mt. Marcy.
However, I’m not here to talk about politics today.
Tucker wants you to smell the wind coming in from the northwest.
Dusk is approaching, but you’d hardly know it as we leave the field and return to the woods—such is the light with fall foliage.
Shuffle through the leaves.
Kick a few.
Call the dog and scratch his ears in reward.
Cross the stream.
Pause at the pond.
Pay your respects to John Brown.
Then look to the mountains once more.