Posted December 18, 2019 – Narrated by Carmen
Self-kindled every atom glows,
And hints the future which it owes.– Ralph Waldo Emerson,Nature
My favorite mountain range is always the last one I met. I’m a sucker for gushing streams, pine scented paths and sparkling ponds.
Our Autumn encounter with the Adirondacks had much to do with luck and timing, but these hills greeted us with such sweetness and purity it was like going home to mama.
We immediately sank into the bosom of America’s First Wilderness, the natura naturans of colonial culture and the ancestral home of countless generations of Haudenosaunee and Abenaki people.
The invigorating mountain air released both my inner Pocahontas and Snow White – and I was slain in the Disney spirit to attempt communication with woodpeckers and squirrels.
Yep, I pranced through the woods trying to chat it up with the residents but, man they’re fast. Mostly I just bumped my head on branches and tripped over roots.
Some followers ask us why we’re not on YouTube. I tell them because I don’t want to die. Videography would put me in Grizzly Man Heaven before my time.
I can write this blog today only because in my youth video cameras were too heavy, fragile and expensive. If I were young I’d probably shoot a scene where … in dawn’s light I perch upon a cliff gazing rapturously (for no reason whatsoever) into a tempestuous sea, my voluminous gauzy gown billowing wildly upon the wind, a trusty falcon ready upon my gloved hand …
Thank God I found Jung and lived long enough to learn that a comfortable chair on a nice porch with a growler of good brew is plenty thrilling – but nobody needs to see video of that.
So, back to the Adirondacks.
Those leaves we’d been stalking for over a month finally made an appearance in North Country. We arrived for the last few days of peak color in mid-October.
We pulled into Fish Creek Pond Campground on a Sunday afternoon without a reservation.
The park was already closing down for the season, one section at a time. The ranger at the drive-in station handed us a list of about twenty available sites where we could reserve for a full week. With no one in line behind us we took our sweet time making a choice.
We found the ideal site. There was enough clearance overhead to allow our batteries to charge. It also had a place to launch our kayaks and a strong enough cell signal. Choices are nice.
The entire campground was soaked through from a recent storm, but fair weather was predicted. We had a week of perfectly dreamy weather with temperatures as high as 70’s during peak daylight hours and no colder than the mid-40’s at night.
And, we witnessed fall color the likes of which we’d never seen before.
If ever we wished we had a drone…
Solitude graced the experience.
We had Fish Creek Pond Campground almost entirely to ourselves. The vacation cottages were abandoned for the season – kinda spooky. I wonder why ghost towns make me feel like a peeping tom?
The day we arrived the ranger told us that all the leaves would be on the ground by weekend. Not a moment to waste. The trees had work to do.
Mournful loon song echoed across the pond, and other than the crunch of dry leaves beneath the soles of our boots, we heard no other competing sounds.
Our senses caught a glassy wave.
Our minds cleared.
We discovered that the real enchantment of Autumn is not so much the spectacular colors, but the companionship of trees. If we had stayed longer we would have given them names. Were they choosing names for us?
For hours we walked around the ponds… talking.
Talking transitioned into reminiscing about our life’s greatest joys, regrets, failures, blessings, burdens, sorrows, ambitions …
I am a fanciful person, but I cannot dismiss the sensation that the trees were acknowledging our conversation.
Flourishes of empathy, sympathy and laughter seemed to arise on cue as we progressed along the road in this mesmerizing ticker-tape celebration for the onset of our golden years.
Fall came late.
Winter came early.
Then, suddenly, the crisp night air invited us to leave. Next morning – first day of bow-hunting season – we pulled out. Two days later we heard that the campground was under snow.
Yes, it was quite a show, watching the trees light up and shed themselves bare.
The little dog was delighted – couldn’t get enough of it – everything up there coming down here to his level.
All was right with the world.
Even now, though we’re three thousand miles away, the sense memories abide.
We can feel the pond’s stillness …
and see the rosy sunsets beside the fire …
and smell the earthy fragrance of our woodland sanctuary.
Yet, from the beginning, it felt like a dream.
We have no idea when or if we will ever be able to return to the Adirondacks …
So, please, if you’re ever there, give the mountains our love and pass on the message that we’re fine and that we miss the trees and my apologies for startling the critters.
If you want to see our exact route, click here.
*photos in this post (unless otherwise noted) were taken and copyrighted by Living In Beauty.
In the comments section below, we’d love to hear about your fall foliage experience.