Where is Summer?

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Overlooking the dense forest that starts in Old Forge and extends through much of the Adirondack National Park.

I was talking with an Aunt of mine today, about heading up to her camp in the Adirondacks this month, and it got me thinking…

My Aunt, Bridget Roberts, owns a small log cabin in Old Forge, at the foothills of the Adirondack National Park, and although this place isn’t a mansion, it’s absolutely EVERYTHING you dream about when you think about getting away in the summer.

The cabin was built more than a century ago, and when you first walk in you can smell the pine and the embers of the ashes from last year’s fire… almost. There is a fire-pit they keep out back for larger, s’more-making campfires, but there’s a stone fireplace inside too, for those colder June nights that you have to go pretty far North to even experience.

Inside the camp, there’s an intricate portrait of the landscape that their daughter (a very artistic person in her own right) etched on an enormous mushroom.

On the camp’s front deck, you can overlook the Fulton Lake Chain in the Southern Adirondack region, and on a late-Spring morning at sunrise… My God. All the talk about melting glaciers forming lakes is just hot air sailing over your head in high school until you see these bodies of water poured out so beautifully between mountains, and you can almost picture the mountains of ice melting to create them.

The deer that wander by look at you the way we look at deer in most other parts of the country, with an expression of “Hey, didn’t expect to see you here…” There’s not the trepidation or instant fear that you see in the eyes of wildlife almost everywhere else, but rather an “Oh, hi” glance before they move along.

Cell phone service is spotty, there’s no cable television and certainly no Wi-Fi. You can’t help but think, while you’re there: “Before man was staring into his phone, checking Social Media, updating his status, texting, tweeting or photographing… maybe he was just… observing, appreciating, relaxing, absorbing…”

On her front porch at sunrise you see that lake chain poured between the mountains as the sun soaks the trees and slowly changes their color to your eye from shadows to breathing greens. Your pocket feels empty without a phone, your hands feel almost odd interlaced behind your head, but when you breath in the crisp air almost feels different in your lungs and the last thing you want to do, even for a second, is blink.

For all of us, perhaps, summer is not just a season but a place we go, a place we return. I’ve been lucky to visit many different ‘summers,’¬†over the years, but this one is truly incredible in almost every sense of the word.

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