The View from Giant Ledge (2017)
Each year, for many years, I have made a pilgrimage to Shandaken, NY to hike up to Giant Ledge and view the fall foliage in the massive Catskill valley. This year's trek was an important one, for in all likelihood it will be my last visit to this cherished place. We will be in our new home in Arizona next month, and I doubt that I will make the trek back to do this climb again.
Being there yesterday was bittersweet. As always, I am captivated and awed at Gods grand majesty and design when I look out at the miracles of His creation. The sense of humility and gratitude at such times is overwhelming. But yesterday each step was both a remembrance and a commitment to the memory of this special place. At different points during the walk I would remember a past trip, the people I was with and, most notably, the moments shared with my greatest companion, Stryders. More than once, as my out of shape body struggled up the hill, I would stop and begin to cry with a mixture of happiness and loss. Even writing this brings up those emotions.
I also thought about this final journey to the spot. I am so grateful to be moving to our new home, yet I am saddened as well by some of what I will leave behind. As the time comes near to load up the truck and start this new adventure, I find myself compelled to visit those spots which mean much to me, but not so much that I would journey back just to experience them. A drive through Astoria, our families landing place, a trip to Katz's deli, a drive along the west side to my high school, a walk along Jones Beach, a trip to get coffee in Kent, CT, a drive to Giant Ledge in the fall. These are all touchstones that have meant so much to my life, but not so much that I would fly across the country to do them again.
I am grateful to my Cindy for understanding and giving me the time to make the trip yesterday even though I am not sure she understands full why it was so important. I am grateful for the adventure of the rest of our lives together traveling and exploring the world. It is what we were meant to do.
I am even grateful for the sadness of the loss of the places I will likely never see again. They have made my life so much more vibrant and joyous.
So there you have it, the first of my goodbye posts. I will miss the places, but I pray to see the people again. I look forward to your visits so that we can show you the paradise that is Arizona.
Shoot Date: October 17, 2017
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Aperture priority ¼ sec at f/16 0 EV
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 19 mm