Craig Childs - House of Rain
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Field Notebook

November 15, 2009
Three mornings in the Adirondacks...

Three mornings in the Adirondacks. My first dawn comes with crisp, clear light, boulders on the lake like granite bergs. Second morning is a fizzling rain on the water. The third I paddle into a still fog, canoe gliding across the sky.

My fantasies of living in the city are diminished. I fall back to the Adirondack Mountains for a few days to discuss work with writers and editors from Orion magazine at Blue Mountain Lodge. Every morning I take out the canoe and float into a larger space.

DC, enchanting as it is, leaves me weathered, threadbare. Even with its museums and rubbery Chinese buns, it feeks like squares within squares. I know that nature has no borders, that subway rats and soaring towers are manifestation of earth, but I am tired in the city. I am seen by too many security cameras, nowhere to rest. Some people cannot afford to canoe on a lake. Some cannot afford to live in the city. Regardless of our individual plasticity, we have places we belong.

I remember driving back to Colorado with my mother when I was a kid after we'd spent the summer in the woods of eastern Arizona. As we came out of the Rockies and she saw Denver washed across the plain, she cried.

By midnight I've taken two trains and the subway and am out on the drunk and roaring streets, remembering morning when I paddled beneath boughs of white pine where water condensed and dripped, plucking the lake with small, growing circles.

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