Sunday, August 29, 2010

Small Acts of Kindness

I know I'm not the only one disappointed with Rachel Alexandra's loss earlier today, but as her co-owner Jess Jackson said, "...we are certainly not disappointed in her." I can't think of a better way of putting it and I'll leave it at that. I'll be anxious to hear that she's come out of the race okay on Monday morning. Saratoga's reputation as the Graveyard of Champions is certainly intact as well.

So after my short sojourn in Saratoga on Thursday, I decided to trek a little farther north into the Lake George area of the Adirondack Mountains. I figured I had time for a little driving, a little hiking, and some plain ol' gawking at the beautiful scenery surrounding me.

My first views of the lake were from the shore in the village of Lake George. As I sipped my iced coffee I was treated to the sounds of a calliope tootling away on a nearby paddle-wheeler. There was a collection of dark green Adirondack chairs situated so as to give the best views of the lake and hillsides. I'm usually rather a purist when it comes to Adirondack chair color choices, I typically prefer they be a crisp, clean white or a deep greenish-black Charleston Green, but these were just perfect and deliciously comfortable to sink down into.
Comfy chairs in the village of Lake George, NY
As I left, I tossed a coin into the fountain near my car...I secretly hoped it meant I'd visit here again soon. 

Driving up Route 9N (a road I can highly recommend for a Sunday afternoon ramble) I passed numerous motels with kitschy names like The Do-Rest Inn, The Cozy Nook, The Capri Villa, and my favorite of all, Wade's Canadian. Many looked like small resorts frozen in time that you might see in an episode of Mad Men, or a Doris Day movie from the 1960s. Charming, yes, and with picture postcard views of the western side of the lake, too. Yet somehow it seemed a little anachronistic to see them advertising "Free Internet," "HD Cable TV," or in a very few instances, "Free Wi-Fi!" The signs alone would make a great little photo journal because they are all very unique and vintage/retro in style. *note to self...*

Windows open, chilly fresh air filling my lungs, I turned off the radio and was able to hear the chirping of the birds and frogs as I drove. The breeze would blow through the pines and balsams when I'd stop to take a short walk or hike. Around some corners it was so incredibly quiet that I was a little startled when a frog would jump into a pond or stream, making a tiny ploop sound and leaving a little ripply wake as it swam away.
A totally silent Adirondack pond
Atop one of the larger hills was a small parking area for drivers to pull off the road and spend a few minutes taking in all the surroundings. A few other travelers had pulled over as well and we did a polite dance as we jockeyed for position to get just the right photograph in just the right lighting. I sat on the guardrail (bringing back memories of the "Great Budapest Silent March" wherein I was in BIG trouble for hanging off a parapet--and potentially endangering myself--to take the perfect photograph) looking out at the expanse of the deep blue lake and spotted a small boathouse in a cove right below me. Beautiful and secluded, the inhabitants/owners were clearly enjoying the day as well. I also noticed a small white, plastic picket fence at my feet guarding a pink, flowering rosebush.
Overlooking Lake George
I was immediately struck by how hearty the plant must be to survive there amidst all the sand, gravel, and grit that it endures over the winter and spring. Had someone put it there to mark the site of an accident where a loved one was lost? Maybe it was a favorite vista of a spouse of long lost friend and this was a way of celebrating it. Or perhaps it was a wild rose that had ended up there accidentally, the way you often see stray roses along barns and stonewalls on long-abandoned farmsteads. In any event, someone had taken the time and care to make the modest effort of giving this little rose a chance. This small act of kindness--a touch of grace, if you will--stayed with me all day. What a perfect symbol of how a little kindness and care can go a long way...and a quiet reminder that you never know whom it will impact over the course of time.


sid fernando said...

Must take that ride and stay at one of those charming wayside inns.

The Paper Tyger said...

There is good food to be had up that way as well :) I can only imagine that once the leaves begin to change it is even more beautiful. When in doubt, head north!

fjk said...

The photo of the pond is postcard-worthy. I hope your wish comes true!

The Paper Tyger said...

Thanks, FJK :) The pond was SO quiet and idyllic...literally one of the best moments of the summer just sitting there in the quiet.

The Paper Tyger said...
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