The calm of early morning finds me up in the Sentinels, after a stiff climb that offers no warm- up for stiff car legs, and no time to accommodate breath control. The upside is a relieving stretch of the sciatic nerve that has been plaguing me for weeks….actually months. Collecting myself at the plateau, I walk around the pond a bit, looking for vantage points. A mist sits on the water close to shore, as the shadows recede and sunlight burns into the cool of the night. To visit many of these ponds is to witness a long, slow organic breakdown. Many acres of otherwise beautiful water are marred by the chaos of limbs and trees collapsing onto their shores and into their waters; this one is better than most. I suppose that nature doesn’t perform for the aesthetics of the observer, although you could argue that when the process of decomposition is complete, years from now, one would see the transformation of adolescence into the glow of young adulthood. Most scenes have a timeline whose change we will never see. But maybe they live a life like ours, more dramatically delivered by way of glaciers, volcanoes, and collisions of continents….deceased by being worn down by the elements, or maybe even in the manner they were born. There are places we all go to that have reached a geological age of exquisite beauty...a maturity achieved that says this is how it wants to present itself for our appreciation. The hand of man plays no part in making them—it just gets us close. Too late we learn the lessons of maturity, so sure that we know it all early on, and so humble to realize how little, later. I envy nature’s time, and curse the lack of more.
(Copperas Pond, Adirondacks, NY)