Place Where You Live:

Saranac Lake, New York

A mountain rises abruptly in our small backyard. Facing it, by an open window, I meditate before dawn. Wrapped in an army blanket, nestled in a red beanbag chair, I relish winter’s feather-drifting silence and the champagne effervescence of spring’s snowmelt. Like a surfer catching a wind-driven swell, I inhale March gusts. April’s precipitation, cloaked in darkness, could be crinkly paper lanterns rattling in the wind.

A crow caws. Does he know his calls permeate me? That when he ceases, my cells call out for more?

At dusk, deer, in twos and threes, bound up the hill after nibbling below. One late June night, a neighbor’s dog spooks a bull moose whose hooves clatter up the rocky slope.

In August, a high pitched Barred Owl’s “Who cooks for whoo?” Then, with air crisp as cold celery, all is as still as a solitary mole asleep underground. The silence, huge as a boulder, surrenders to the trill of early morning crickets and the occasional ping of a berry dropping on a leaf. I lean forward, in early September, to envelop myself in the stillness, broken briefly by a robin’s single chirp. In the renewed quiet, the bird and I co-exist.

Golden orange and brown maple leaves, the size of handprints, cascade and blur. As with fingerprints and snowflakes, are there no two alike?

October’s rain, fat and heavy, will soon become white and weightless. The whooshing wind mimics ocean waves crashing but instead of salt, I smell crushed leaves.

December’s wind howls. Loose leaves scurry up the mountain like disoriented lemmings. I want to gulp in the air. Purify my insides. Open the front and back doors of my house. Let it sweep through like a sweetgrass-smudge while sleet falls in delicate crystal patters.

After nearly twenty-five years of savoring each season’s unique gifts, I learn a developer intends to build townhouses on the ledge above us.