in which i leave
my heart on a hill
This is the place I keep coming back to.
The first time was over 20 years ago, I drove to the Adirondacks alone with my notebooks and a weekend’s worth of soup and the vintage men’s overcoat that I practically lived in at the time. I rented the tiniest cabin available, and I only left once to drive up through the mountains, listening to Cowboy Junkies and Tom Petty and Bob Dylan as I went. I drove for hours and saw sights I have never forgotten.
The rest of the weekend I spent at a table in front of the wood stove, writing poetry and eating soup and perhaps, for a while, pretending that I actually was the writer I had always imagined myself to be. I was quite young, already a mother, already on my way to the end of my first marriage. In many ways, I was lost.
But I found myself here, several hundred miles away from home, up in these hills, found a place to leave my heart, nestled in the crook of an old pine tree, a place where it would always be whole and safe. A place where these mountains would always be watching over its beating claim to life.
I’m not sure why I became so attached to this place, why I had such a strong feeling that I belonged. But I did. And it’s that feeling that keeps me coming back. It’s that view and that lake and that call of loon in the earliest morning hours. And those stars at night that shine brighter and longer and seem close enough that you could reach right out and pluck the one you want to wish on from the sky.
Years later, my husband and I came here on our first anniversary, and throughout the years, we brought our children here many times. Now that they are all grown, it is becoming a tradition for us all to make it here for a few days once a year.
There are plenty of other lakes in these mountains, plenty of higher mountains in this park, plenty of sights that are yet to be seen. But this is the place I keep coming back to.
Always, I find my heart again, covered in leaves and bits of moss.
Still beating out its beautiful song.
Here, in this place.