Friday, July 8, 2016

On Saranac Lake

Over the Fourth of July weekend, my only concession to the patriotic holiday was a red, white and blue pinwheel stuck into the gunwale of my canoe. We paddled around the many islands of Lower Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Park and slept at a campsite on one of them. Our island was Halfway Island, next to Green Island, above Burnt Island, below Knobby Island, and near Hatchet Island and Bluff Island. They all look exactly alike, and as we approached at sundown, we rejoiced to discover our land before nightfall. Maybe it would have been wonderful to drift on the canoe all night...

The park doesn't allow fireworks so we were spared the cracks and explosions that I normally like. All around us was water--water all around our island; water all around our canoe. It was beyond peaceful as we met a loon preening himself just a few feet away from us and a bald eagle swooping into the lake for his prey. My patriotism for my country lies in adoration for this country's wilderness, for the vast empty places. I think a worship of the wild places is also my religion. What a gorgeous place is the state of New York that Bill McKibben calls the Saudi Arabia of water. And the great news is that we have protected it from hydro-fracking so hopefully most of it will continue to be pristine.

Although I didn't write on the trip, my mind is still filled with the sight of water for inspiration. Happily, I will not get the sight of it out of my mind. I hope that everyone will be able to draw nourishment this summer from bodies of water. We live, after all, on the beautiful blue planet.


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