by Mitch Lee
Back in February 1974, there were a few things going on in the world that really got me thinking.
The Symbionese Liberation Army, an American self-styled left-wing revolutionary organization, kidnapped 19-year-old heiress Patty Hearst.
They were holding her hostage for a few million dollars, and it made me a bit uneasy that we had an army roving around our country that was scooping up kids and holding them for ransom.
I wasn’t sure what a left-wing group was and why they wanted a revolution to happen here in America.
I was only eight years old and I thought everything that was happening around my lake was pretty cool.
The ice was making mid-winter popping sounds.
The birds at the feeder seemed to be enjoying the longer sunny days.
I didn’t see gender or racial inequality happening in my neighborhood. There were no protests or riots on the Fulton Chain.
We lived in nice harmony with the seasons and the animals who visited our yard.
Mid/late winter was a time to shovel the roof, clean out the woodstove pipe on the first warm day, and think about packing for spring vacation.
I never wondered if armed vigilantes were going to cause a huge rampage of crime and angst in the West Central Adirondacks.
My home felt safe and secure, as if there was no crime or world strife.
I often left the house each day without giving any thought to a destination for a wander in the woods around the lake.
I ventured off with my dog Mutt to see what sorts of things we could find out about the woods around us.
I never had a spooky moment where I felt there was a dangerous group or individual who was stalking the spruce groves and streams around Limekiln Lake waiting for me to come along and just pounce.
These last few months I have seen—as the world grows closer in on our “Mountain“ world in the form of being plugged into the internet, through twenty-four hour news and social media—that my neighbors have become suspicious of the world around us.
They are reeling in the rhetoric of fear and wanting to arm themselves to the teeth in case the boogey men arrive here.
I don’t find myself wondering if ISIS is behind every tree, or if right or left wing ad hoc armies will try to take my life and liberties as I wander through the woods on these late winter days.
I just find the days getting longer, the sun feeling warmer on my face, and the smell of the woods as it unwraps its saps from the frost of winter starting its fragrant weeping of life.
Mitch Lee, Adirondack native & storyteller,
lives at Inlet. firstname.lastname@example.org