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    Hints of Balsam and Pine  from our  corner of the Adirondacks. Adirondack Letters
    No.20: A Leisure Story.
    Leisure is the sweetest part. Take some time to experience it. CLICK & GO!  (On this page.)   Adirondack Letter No.20: "A Leisure Story."    A favorite poem of mine on the same subject.   (On the next page.)   Links to all the Adirondack Letters in this series.  How to sit.  

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    "A Leisure Story" Adirondack Letter No.20
    Subject: A Leisure Story
    Date: Sat, 23 Jun 2007 19:22:09
    From: Martin (Your Adirondack Guide)
    To:    Fourpeaks Visitors
    At:    < youremailname@youremail.address >

    Dear Fourpeaks Visitor,

    Bert phones to say he can't work the weekend. There are no end of
    camp projects to do, but I meet this with a mixture of
    disappointment and real joy. Breaking away from the computer
    screen, I step outside, open the folding chair at a random spot
    and half close eyes in a familiar gesture.

    A shock of fresh air brushes me. Waves of it move audibly through
    the greenery around, and sway the treetops overhead as well. I
    sense George nearby waiting. Spring grass grows tall and unruly
    alongside the building and low ordinary weeds scramble in the
    barren dirt nearby. I sit like this twenty minutes altogether. A
    longlimbed forest of oak and pine is liberated from the square of
    wood and glass that ordinarily frames it.

    An English aristocrat whose writings I admire offers leisure,
    along with fearlessness, emancipation from the herd, other
    hallmark qualities of his class, as an essential for human
    excellence. He was brought up in Richmond Park, a good place for
    it. He has an eye for the ladies, writes a popular History of
    Philosophy and lives off it for life.

    Our own Thoreau, a nature recluse, quits his Dad's pencil factory,
    takes on handyman jobs for Emerson, then gives it up altogether.
    In a famous book he counsels Economy with respect to work.
    Contemplating the world right from his own doorstep, I see him,
    with sun on his face, perhaps for hours, a nearby row of beans his
    only agriculture. Old forest trees he spared ring his little
    clearing. His eyes rest, and he takes note of the minute qualities
    in the groundcover at his feet.

    In town at the hardware store the boys joke with me as I move in
    businesslike down the aisles for the myriad replacement parts,
    fastenings and supplies it takes to maintain the seven camps. When
    I tell Wendy my interest in the subject, she says people don't get
    enough of it, but she proves it's beneficial. She works there part
    time. Her Eric keeps two jobs (at least) and always has since a
    boy. She has a special spot she likes and goes there an hour every
    day. A faded trellis still supports the old rose by the cutting
    garden in back.

    I leave the house at the bottom of the hill and set up at camp for
    good. The barn determines the character of the place, low
    ceilings, dark interior and all raw wood. The only free choice I
    enjoy is fixing the new privy--just at the edge of the pine swamp.
    Water flow from off Bassett keeps the soil moist year round. I
    never miss the opportunity to look out at the tall trees that
    flourish there, craning my neck to follow the long lines they make
    right up to the small blue opening above. This year a colony of
    fungus plants grow out of the forest debris on a rock just in
    front. I feel them hard and white growing out together like knobs
    of swamp cypress in miniature.

    I see George out my window sitting on his haunches, body
    alert. I'm sure he's unaware I'm observing him. From the direction
    he's facing, he's not watchdogging as he often is, listening for
    sound on Stonehouse Road. And he's not in a hunting stance either.
    Near him a jumble of vegetation rustles in a breeze. It's cool.
    Bright sun penetrates and the woods floor lights up. I figure he's
    experiencing a moment of leisure, and that for me settles the
    question whether a dog has Mind.

    I keep "To-Do" lists on little 3-M Post-its. The small size is a
    control measure. When there gets to be a profusion of them, I'm at
    a loss. I have to collect and organize them, recopy some. The
    sticky gives out on them if they've been around. There's an
    incomparable feeling of satisfaction deleting items off the list
    and tossing out the yellow scraps. And an odd sense of realization
    finding a forgotten list tucked away somewhere.

    Out of commission most of last year with a leg fracture, by winter
    all that's left of firewood is a single pile of blocks, hardly a
    cord. "Get firewood" stays on the list all that time. Andy phones
    when they're cutting on his lot next door, but I have to pass with
    the early thaw that set in. When the field is dry my list has a
    dozen logger names and I keep on it for weeks.

    Greg Atkins drives in with his big rig, the heaviest machine that
    ever went through the gate--a tandem load. I watch him work the
    crane on top, first unload the sleeper logs and then the rest like
    a pile of giant matchsticks. Proud of his work he sorts the types,
    with ash for cutting right now by the splitter and oak on the
    other end for later on.

    When he's gone it's quiet. Thirty feet long and manhigh, the pile
    fills the sunny spot he chose for drying. The dark beyond drops
    off to fern, water and an impenetrable jungle of rot and
    struggling individuals. The open field fills with emerging meadow
    plants and juvenile woody forms. Rattlesnake and Ebenezer rise
    above it all and the nearby fifty-foot granite face is totally at
    rest as well.

    Thanks for reading this. Leisure is the sweet part. With your life in
    order, take some time to experience it.
    (Availability Calendar).     http://4peaks.com/femailu.htm
    Find a natural place on your own and get the views (trail notes).
           http://4peaks.com/fotrails.htm
    Enjoy the comfort of a real Adirondack cabin (learn all about it).
           http://4peaks.com/fhome.htm

    Your Adirondack Guide,

    Martin

    P.S. If you liked this letter, save it for the links, and tell a
    friend! If you didn't like it, please send it back with "REMOVE"
    as the subject. Thanks.

          Member Whiteface Mountain Visitors Bureau        
       Member Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau

    *************************************************************
    This is   No.20  of a really occasional   Letter,  "Hints of
    Balsam and   Pine  from our Corner  of the Adirondacks,"  for
    Fourpeaks guests   or  anyone  who   ever   inquired about  a
    Fourpeaks   Vacation/Getaway. To get off this list reply with
    "REMOVE" in the subject heading.
    *************************************************************


    A favorite poem of mine on the same subject.


    Answer to Vice-Prefect Chang

    In later life quietude is my only love.
    A million affairs are not on my mind.
    I have no big plans.
    Running on empty I go back to these old woods.
    Pine winds blow. My clothes are loose.
    Mountain moon shines. I strum my lute.
    You ask me what it's all about.
    A fisherman's song floats in on the water.


    Wang Wei





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