I'm not going to spend time today reflecting on our time in the cabin. That will come in a later entry.
Yesterday, we did indeed drive southwest and then northwest to Bethel, the site of the 1969 Woodstock music festival. I was more than forty-five years late, but I finally made it. Ulster County south of Woodstock has some beautiful little villages – Marbletown, Stone Ridge, Accord, Ellenville – places I would gladly live, if I had what it takes to survive these winters. But round about the time you cross the Ulster-Sullivan County line, south of Ellenville, you enter a region I have named Desperation. It's not on any map, but it ought to be. Just stop at the Stewart's in Wurtsboro, at the corner of Kingston Avenue and Sullivan Street, and you'll know what I mean. Jobless men with their scratch-off cards, grizzled old men, drunks and lost souls who remember vanished industry, housewives with the marks of alcoholism and abuse, teenage girls who are working hard to earn the sobriquet "slut," fifteen going on a hard twenty-five. Despair. No one's getting out of there alive. There are church bells, but they just seem to hammer the seediness and meth-laden, post-industrial squalor in all the deeper.
Turn right at that Stewart's, and by the time you reach White Lake, Despair will slowly begin to release it's hold on you. What once was Max Yazgur's dairy farm, the location of the Woodstock festival way back in August 1969, it's beautiful land in the summer, rolling green hills and patches of forest south of Filippini Pond. But yesterday wasn't summer. The clouds had broken apart by the time we reached the memorial marker, but Jesus it was bitterly cold. And snow had just begun to fall. There was a wind that would flay the skin right off your bones. I stood there, noting the natural amphitheater formed by the pasture's topography and recognizing the spot at the bottom of the hill where the stage had been. I posed for a photo. And then we got back into the car. It was just too goddamn frigid. The fields were full of crows, Canada geese, and ravens. We drove something like four hours to see a point of the map where we spent no more than ten minutes.
There was a breath of relief when we'd put Sullivan County behind us and were once again safely in Ulster. Oh, and there was the World's Third Largest Lawn Gnome (13+ feet high). He used to be the first, but some assholes in Iowa and Poland had to build bigger lawn gnomes. We drove home with the setting sun making a Maxfield Parish painting of the clouds and the long, stony bulwark of Shawangunk Ridge barring the path to the Hudson.
Oh, and there was some really nice Devonian stratigraphy along the roads. Two photos:
"Aw, Man. I missed Country Joe and the Fish? Shit."
You were warned.
Photographs Copyright © 2015 by Kathryn A. Pollnac
Oh, and you should read this, by Chuck Wendig: "Fuck You, Clean Reader: Authorial Consent Matters". Seriously. Read it. Don't pull that "tl;dr" crap.
Oh, this link as well, from the New York Times: "How ‘You Do You’ Perfectly Captures Our Narcissistic Culture". Before this morning, I swear I'd never heard "you do you" or "you do." Lucky fucking me.
Now, I have to finish packing and have another Red Bull. I think Neil's stopping in before we leave at 3 p.m. See you in Providence.