Monday, July 26, 2010

Deep Woods, Clean Lakes

In a world of global warming and devastating oil disasters, it's easy to forget that nature can still exist in a pristine spiritual state, that there are places where humans, animals, birds, trees, and water can get along with no more impact on each other than absolutely necessary. I was fortunate to spend a few days last week at a lake camp deep in the Adirondacks and can thus testify that this is, in fact, the case. This camp, deep in the Keene Valley area, is one of those relics of an amazing era, when massive tracts of these lands could - and were - bought by forward-looking, intrepid individuals for 50 cents an acre in order to save them from the logging industry. (Of the original tract, much now belongs to NY State as a wilderness preserve.) They put up sturdy, rustic cabins, rowed in with goods and families, and stayed for the long summers, with few comforts but with plenty of peace, quiet, and almost unbearable beauty all around them. The friends with whom we stayed are the current generation of one of the original families, which included an artist who was at one time well-known as an American Modernist. His name is Howard Weston, and while his story includes successful gallery shows in Manhattan, years in a small village in the French Pyrenees, and a commitment to humanitarian issues during WWII, his heart was always in the Adirondacks. His work, as shown in these samples, glows with the rich depth of color and emotion that he saw and felt in this amazing world. My photos are a paler connection to the place that rooted so deeply into his soul.

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