The Great Northern Forest where I began my journey, is absent of loneliness. It is a place I find solace. Here, the memories are fluent. The stillness comforts, it is my blanket.
This trip we passed the area where I grew up in many ways. My Dad owned and ran a children’s camp on 4th lake in Inlet, NY for over 40 years. That is where the seed was planted for so many branches of my life.
My spiritual quest, started by going off into the woods as a small child to receive solace from the turmoil and confusion that at times scared me. I was encouraged by a man who taught Indian lore at the camp, he mentored me, albeit for a short time, in the healing ways, the spiritual ways of the woods, Hal Deitzle was Native American.
My love of music and becoming a musician stemmed from the juke box at camp. I would stand in front of this 1940’s Juke with awe, looking inside at the glow, the discs, even the fake marble looking plastic on either side of the glass. The sounds that emanated from it were life changing. That Juke and the girls were the fuel for rebellion, for independence.
My understanding for the working class. I gravitated more towards the workers. The kitchen staff, the caretaker and his family who were Adirondack natives. His son was my age so we spent a lot of time together in the woods and in his home which was part of my Dad’s camp. They helped immensely in my understanding not only of the woods, fishing, and nature, but in working class values.
I learned about prejudice, racism and the ability to transform oneself by working in the kitchen one year with a black chef and two white kids from the deep south. That summer Hansom Smith the college educated, compassionate, empathetic and refined chef who ruled the kitchen taught so much just by example. Now I keep the memories. I store them in a well I can go to, for now as we passed, by canoe, this hallowed ground of my youth, the buildings have all been torn down. and replaced by multi million dollar mansions.