Growing up Adirondack by Mitch Lee

My sneakers crunched the stiff blades of grass as I wandered across the frost-covered lawn that Saturday morning in 1978.

Honking geese flew overhead and leaves rustled in the breeze, surrounding me with the sounds of fall.

Most of the trees were blanketed in fall colors and shimmered in the morning sunlight.

I was surprised how quickly the white-frosted ground had turned to a wet carpet once it was hit by the sun.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do that day. I knew if I went back inside there was homework to finish and my room to clean, so it was more fun to stay outside and do nothing.

My dog Mutt was pretty good at keeping me company when I was doing nothing which we both thought was a pretty good arrangement.

All of a sudden I heard a crashing sound coming from the brush behind the house. Mutt and I decided to go investigate.

Mutt’s ears were perked as she led the way into the woods. We saw a ruffle of white tail bound away from us.

Mutt looked up at me as if she was pleading for my permission to give chase. I reached down and touched her nose.

In a reassuring voice I let her know that she needed to stay put.

We made our way deeper into the woods and up a hill to a marshy area. I found a nice throwing stick for Mutt and gave it a heave into a wilting bed of ferns about thirty yards away.

She went face-down in the ferns to retrieve it, then chewed it into small pieces.

Mutt joined me as I struck further uphill. About a mile up we came to a clearing and crossed an old logging road.

The sun felt pretty good in the open sandy area.

I etched my name in the road with my heel until my sneakers started to fill with sand.

Mutt was off to the side rolling around in what appeared to be bear poop.

It took an hour or two for us to return home from our “doing nothing” walk. My mother asked what me what we had been up to all day.

I just shrugged and answered, “Nothing.”

I felt lucky that I didn’t smell as bad as Mutt. I got to sleep in my bed while the poor dog was banished to the office for the night.

Mitch Lee, Adirondack native & storyteller, lives at Big Moose

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