Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletOctober 20, 2019

Earth Concerns News

Adirondack Cabin Provides Exceptional View of the Overwhelming Beauty of God's Creation by Dorothy Hathway, CSJA

For this world that you made, glory to You. For the wheat and for the wine, glory to You.

I'm writing today from a small lake in the Adirondack mountains, five miles from the town where I was born. I return here each summer to remember my family and my youth and to renew my friendships with the forest and the rivers. A few friends still live here. We remain connected.

Things are different now, of course. The deer have returned. When I was a child, they were "camp meat" for poor, hungry families on this mountain. Things are better now. We now have loons on the lake and a lone eagle snares rainbow trout as they rise in the water. In the village, where my mother and father worked, the smokestacks that spewed sulphite vapor into the air are gone as is the sludge in the Hudson River from the paper mill.

At Hunt Lake, people catch and release their fish, and they avoid using fertilizer or chemicals that could be carried into the water. A few people grumble, but it doesn't do them any good. Peer pressure can be a good thing. Nature remains the preferred landscape. Boats are sanitized before entering or returning to the water to avoid introducing non-native species that would upset the natural balance of nature. A fox keeps her kits under my neighbor's porch, and lovely phoebes, nests under my eaves. Evening often finds a beaver swimming down the center of the lake, towing a small tree from somebody's property to its lodge near the outlet.

The wintergreen, with its medicinal berries, is still here, and so are the leaves that stop infections. My father taught me about them; I taught my children. Snow-on-the-mountain and columbine grow wild. I remember walking the paths in the dark without fear. We made friends with the dark when we were children.

People wonder how it is to live alone for five months without television or a cell phone. In truth, evenings are long. Every thought I've ignored or suppressed surfaces at one time or another, especially at night. When I was younger, disturbing dreams began early in my stay and lasted about a week. Now they wait several weeks longer to begin, and visit me only a few nights. I come closer to understanding how our ancestors knew the power of the Creator because I can do only insignificant things in the midst of all this wildlife, water, towering trees and solitude.

Does the stillness improve my health? Oh, yes! Forests are healing, as is my small cottage. The silence gradually lends itself to prayer. There is an icon print of Christ on my porch, one of Elijah in my dining room, and a plaque of the Holy Family in the living room. The mountain, lake, and I are well cared for.

May we become nothing, so that You are all we see. O Giver of Life, O Christ our God, Glory to you! (adapted from the Troparion at the Resurrection)

Is this land sacred? Is all creation consecrated for our gentle use? Is it our maternal duty to guard and protect creation for future generations? Do we see God in the sunset, in the wild flowers, in our neighbors? Come and sit. Watch and listen throughout the days and evenings, and you will know that the answer is a heartfelt “Yes.”