Monday, May 20, 2019

The North Country

Me and Katrina, my oldest friend. We were young mothers together back in the 70's. Her son Jared just opened a restaurant in town (delish!) and Katrina and I didn't have enough time together. Not at all. We didn't even get to the 'what happened to so and so' before I had to leave for the northernmost point in New York State to visit Anne, my sister. Gotta come back. 
The Raquette River in Potsdam. Just off there was a dinky farmer's market with three youngsters playing their fiddles.
The Episcopalian Church on the banks of the river. 
The (very white) momma and her baby.
The view from my sister's back porch. There are orioles at the bird feeder, peepers as night, bird song all day. During the night there was thunder, lightening and rain. The moon came out brilliant and round behind the clouds for a few minutes. During the day we went to the Birchbark Bookstore back in the woods. The fellow there has a series of linked rooms, more like a labyrinth really, crammed with used books. At first they're alphabetized in sections but the farther back you go, it's more helter skelter. The shelves are all nailed to birth bark trunks. Wow. And he has an outhouse. 

There are Amish farmers here, in their horse drawn buggies by the side of the road. There are wild turkeys and deer. Deep wet woods from tons of rain. Lots of bugs.

Today we're planting starts, going to the gym (complete with country music!) and hiking? kayaking? We stayed up watching Iliza Shlesinger on Netflix and falling off the couch laughing.

Tomorrow we'll cross the border into Canada across the St Lawrence-told you she's far north. We're gonna walk the canal, visit the National Gallery of Canada and have high tea at the Chateau Laurier-fancy!!!

I grew up in this State, south from here in Syracuse where Katrina and I met. I am feeling nostalgic as we drive through the little towns here, the clusters of beautiful old homes, many build of limestone and brick, with add-on screened-in porches, gingerbread curlicues, some in good shape and many in disrepair. According to Annie, the folks around are quite poor. Small farmers can't make a go of it and are working at convenience stores and gas stations to make ends meet. The winters are brutal with lots of snow and gray skies. Very cold. I remember when spring arrived when I was a kid. Suddenly, it seemed, the air smelled of mud and there were buds on the trees and trillium at the edges of the forested areas. Here there are clumps of trillium everywhere. Along the river where Annie lives are small homes and mostly elderly folk. Annie knows everyone and watches out for people, the next door neighbors, the recently widowed gal she stopped to talk to yesterday.

When I think of Seattle, I feel the burden of the masses of people who live there, the masses of folks who are crowding the highways and jostling for affordable housing. I feel the burden on the land and water, the greedy reach for luxury and comfort and the suffering of the natural world that is being pushed out by massive housing construction everywhere. It's quite a contrast.

Here, the wind up clock is ticking and one of the cats is snoring. Sparky has a bit of a weight problem but we're working on it.

The day begins with red wing blackbirds in the reeds, calling to one another.


Ms. Moon said...

The North Country is gorgeous.
So are you.

am said...

Beautiful double portrait! Dear friends from the old days to the present.

Elizabeth said...

Sounds beautiful. I have a good friend here who has a home near where you are -- she and her family spend their whole summer there, and they have Amish friends and it just seems idyllic. I'm such a city person -- I love the teeming masses, the culture and the conflict. We're so privileged to be able to get away, though -- to replenish ourselves in such beautiful natural surroundings.

37paddington said...

Waving at you from south of the state. Didn't know you were originally from this coast. Enjoy your visit back home.