Hudson River ramblings: Beauty that inspires and comforts
Today’s river activity: Go outside near a river, a stream, or a pond. Find solace in the watery beauty around us. Write a poem, draw a picture, or sing a song about how you enjoy the water and what you see.
Lake Tear of the Clouds, with the summit of Mt. Marcy in the distance
We live somewhere beautiful, so let’s get outside! Use the mighty Hudson River as a source of inspiration for our work and schooling at home. It is a river of dreams: a river overflowing with lessons and brimming with stories.
I write this for you from a river town while I work from home trying to avoid the quarantine conundrum of staying calm in difficult times. From the small deck of my apartment I can see the sunlit tops of Storm King Mountain and Breakneck Ridge sloping towards each other. What I cannot see, but I know is there, is the Hudson River.
This river has been my source of inspiration for many years ever since my internship as an educator working for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. Loving this river has made me a sailor, educator, citizen scientist, role model, and friend. The river inspires us all in different ways whether it’s kayaking on it, singing about it, or hiking its shores. As an educator, the Hudson River STEAM topics are endless!
I know my generation is not the first to be inspired by the Hudson River. Looking at Storm King Mountain, I am reminded that our valley and river have been at the forefront of the environmental movement time and again. Storm King serves as a symbol that protecting natural resources for aesthetic beauty is worth fighting for. The battle of the mountain and those who cared for it against Con Edison set the precedent that natural resources could be successfully defended in a court of law. Today, in solitude, the beauty of this mountain brings me comfort as my community fights the battle against COVID 19.
View of the Adirondacks from the top of Mt. Marcy
The aesthetic beauty of the Hudson River Valley has also been a haven for artists since the 1800s. The Hudson River School of artists and painters found beauty in the Hudson Valley and wanted to capture this untamed, American wilderness. Landscapes had become acceptable subject matter for serious artists. Meanwhile, writers like Washington Irving and James Fennimore Cooper used the Hudson Valley as the setting for their stories. Eventually, songwriters and activists like Pete Seeger sang about the river’s beauty. Thankfully, even in quarantine, “I can be happy just spending my days on the river that flows both ways.”
I have hiked Mount Marcy and have seen Lake Tear of the Clouds, the source of the Hudson River. I have driven across the country and have seen places like Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons– yet no view stole my heart as much as the view atop Mount Marcy. Today, with a view of our valley’s mountains, I am encouraged to keep calm and appreciate my natural surroundings.
Today’s River Activity: Go outside near a river, a stream, or a pond. Find solace in the watery beauty around us. Write a poem, draw a picture, or sing a song about how you enjoy the water and what you see.
About the Author
Marie is an environmental educator at Teatown, with a focus on Hudson River programming. She leads field trip programs and coordinates volunteers to encourage environmental stewardship.