Painting the Adirondacks in words

This week, I’ve come across a couple of beautiful word portraits of the Adirondacks, both capturing the transport and exhilaration that these mountains inspire.  The first, by painter Sandy Hildreth, was published in the Adirondack Almanack.

My own heart was pounding harder, due to the increased altitude as well as the anticipation of what I would discover at the end of the trail. Winding through small, stunted spruce, I could sense the approach of the summit as there was now nothing but bare rock in front of me. Eagerly climbing it, my breath was taken away by the vast solitude that greeted me.

Directly ahead, across the valley that separated us, was another densely forested mountain, with additional peaks and ridges stretching back, one behind the other, all the way to the horizon.

Such a cool moment, that emergence onto open rock.  And then there’s this beautiful essay by poet Michael Coffey, describing a fishing trip during his boyhood in Saranac, published in the New England Review.

I’d walk up the abandoned broken-up pavement that ran along the brook. In the trees it was dark and the only sound was the rushing of the brook, high with snowmelt off the mountain. I’d look for those pools Dad told me held the promise of trout, as if they were lingering there, holding themselves steady and unseen beneath the surface, waiting for feed to wash through.

Coffey describes holding a trout, lifting the “sticky cold fuselage in one hand.”  It’s a wonder to live in this gorgeous place.  But even more remarkable to have people like Hildreth and Coffey, who help us to keep seeing it.

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1 Comment on “Painting the Adirondacks in words”

  1. Tony Hall says:

    I agree – Michael Coffey’s essay is a gem of Adirondack writing. Readers should also seek out his book of poems, ’87 North.’

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