Castle Point to Hamilton point

"Fissures of Men"

philosopher's stone

Fissures of Men

castle point to hamilton point carriageways
The Castle Point Carriageway begins at Lake Minnewaska and unfolds a steady, twisting incline for approximately three and a half miles to the Castle Point viewpoint, which offers views of Sam’s Point, Lake Awosting, Hamilton Point, Gertrude’s Nose, the Wallkill Valley, and the Catskill Mountains. Though the sloping grade is gentle in comparison to an ascent in truly mountainous terrain, the interesting features of the carriageway lull those with a false sense of ease who would otherwise consider the old carriage road a mere conduit.

Along the wide trail a number of impressive vantages seem to announce the destination in advance— only to be replaced by another false arrival, and then still another— each adding to the growing necessity to abandon one’s strolling mentality and firm up an adequate response to the physical nature of the task. The crisp character of an exposed and variably clothed landscape adds to the false sense of rolling ease. There is no severe terrain to confront us abruptly here; only time and distance unfurl the physical nature of the ascent. It is precisely that scant covering that is so characteristic of the Gunks which incites the senses into a readiness poised to assist the completion of an ever-renewed surface. Like fresh garments arrayed for a perennial act of disclosure through transformation newly revealed, spontaneity lies just around every corner.

Strangely, this unique land seldom exhibits itself with more than modest covering, especially on the majestic escarpments and massive outcrops that have made the region famous. It always feels as though the terrain has only recently been scraped and polished in anticipation of our arrival. And though it harbors the capacity to bring one to ease, the sense of comfort is never unconscious. In the manner that scattered raindrops appear out of nowhere and poke around from a single rogue cloud in order to bring intrigue and mischief to an otherwise sunny sky, there is always something to nudge expectation out of the ordinary in the Gunks. It happens when the body directly perceives irony at the fundamental level of the senses. There is seldom soil enough to fully immerse into unconscious comfort while oddness remains afoot. It is that spontaneity— that unfolding of the unambiguous by means of crisp surfaces— which is precisely the Gunk’s core personality. The region’s ridge line ecosystem, exposed escarpments and impersonal lakes are always secretly nudging the senses to engage the process of dressing, helping out, this time around, a revelation newly disclosed. And so it remains that work is ever solicited here, though this secret is never disclosed in advance of the journey.
In comparison to the grassy meadows and fern-lined blend of cool air from hemlock, birch, oak and maple forests accompanying its venture out of Lake Minnewaska’s Lake Shore Drive, much of the Castle Point Carriageway transitions into an almost calligraphic spontaneity of thickset mountain laurel, wild blueberry shrubs, and windswept pitch pines upon the ever-present white-gray conglomerate that is artfully be-speckled with olive-green lichen. Additional dark patches of lichen curl crusty edges to contrast the white, hard surface further— like ink upon an ancient surface— ensuring that we understand the script to be a work of poetry and not prose.

As the carriageway twists and turns in persistent rise, intermittent walls of rounded conglomerate periodically edge the trail between their encroaching mass and the steep rising drop into the Palmaghatt Ravine below. In the distance, opposite to the deepening ravine, the Millbrook Mountain Carriageway leads to Gertrude’s Nose— a series of impressive bluffs from a sister ridge jutting out on a slightly divergent path to the one we now traverse. Based on their twin presence above the ravine, D.H. Lawrence would have recognized the ridge pair as potential sites for an Etruscan settlement and paired necropolis— a vibrant and living city of departed souls to be mirrored upon the ridge opposite our own. The city on the other side would be no spooky abode, however. It would have the same vitality and care lent to the paths coursing through its comfortable but odd structures as we do on the side of the living. Ranging upon Gertrude’s Nose Trail confirms the hauntingly timeless but ever-renewed beauty to the ridge that we have now dubbed the vibrant necropolis based on our current position. Indeed, even now as we stand a few millennia away from the life-affirming attitude that D.H. Lawrence brought to life in Etruscan Places, the two ridges seem to be woven into a single occupancy—where life and death are equally enmeshed in a single vitality. But here it is the negative space of the intervening Palmaghatt Ravine—the space between the two ridges that thrust out from a common point near Lake Minnewaska— that acts as the land of non-duality that we cannot partake of from where we now stand. We have picked a side, so we can only gage the measure of our own height in the exchange.

And so it is, in this odd clarity of forms that is the Gunks, that opposites appear to be merged— but only in their forthright and manifest attributes. Accident and Occident artfully combine along many a carriageway and trail. Oriental spontaneity appears to grow seamlessly upon a landscape that is bold, new, and Occidental to its core. And yet we know that it is not new. The fundamental strangeness is a convergence of opposites that lends irony even to the unconscious sweep of the senses. The Gunks’ ubiquitous conglomerate rock undergirds an ever-present contrast through its light, almost floating bearing, even though it also presents its impenetrable hardness in the same existence. Mother of all millstones, this irresolute surface has been buffed and polished by glaciers so as to seemingly project a self-luminance in the absence of reflective light. Wearing the appropriate garments of vibrant huckleberry and mountain laurel clusters amidst slashing bold strokes of sinuous pitch pine, the white-grey rock is neatly edged in select places, like a white sand beach greeted by native species of mixed green grasses in a slow graceful flow. Rust orange pine needles disperse themselves into real and artificial paths, simply because they are allowed to— for they have met the mandate to participate in contrast prior to admittance. Every intimate region that offers itself as a locale appears to demarcate its novel boundaries in our passing, by means of contrast in transition. It is irony again that suggests a measure of the region’s allure, for even though transitions are felt to be frequent as we move through the landscape, the variation is accomplished without diversification of vegetative species upon the ridge.

Due to the rock’s resistance to erosion, water and soil do not accumulate as they do in the lower ravines and places of runoff in the Shawangunks— and certainly nowhere near the level that occurs in the fertile Wallkill and Rondout valleys that surround the sky island conglomerate ridge system. This creates a generalized and widespread lack of mineral buffering in a thin sandy soil that is only slowly extracted from the cement, with acidic conditions prevailing. The pitch pines, mountain laurel and wild blueberry bushes that thrive directly upon the bare rock are the complementary covering selected by the beautiful rock more than they are sheer winners in the quest for light. They are hardy and selectively strange enough not only to thrive upon this scant, acidic, nearly desert-like soil, they also depend upon occasional brush fires to clear the debris around them and invoke a wealth of fire-adapted responses from their seeds and vegetative shoots.
And so it is that in a very fundamental way, transition is accomplished here by means of a subtle but frequent play of variations upon the same basic themes. This is a marvelous feat indeed, for the lack of diversity upon the ridge does not collapse into mundane consistency— to the contrary, the crisp surface play and scene altering contrasts solicit the senses far more than many a diversified ecosystem.

AMBIENT

Transition is frequent not merely as a function of the space we traverse, but of the time of our inhabitance. The emergent glow of dawn can feel like the extended dawn of all creation here, but it is distinct from the growing shadows and reverent feeling that is discovered quietly in our midst prior to sunset. The light of dawn and evening wrap sacred edges around the harsh, mundane light during the belly of the day. By means of a secret exchange with the environment, the earth itself, and select objects upon it, are granted the power of self-luminance— the subjective feeling of possessing a glowing light from within. During those times, the question merely becomes: which objects will be granted the benefaction— for all that do are immediately endowed with an internal presence.

Yet even though a sunrise and a sunset visit all quarters of the earth daily not every terrain responds to accept, disperse, and slow down the transition into self-luminance. By virtue of their basic clarity of form, the Gunks simply swim and linger in this magic. But even under the harsh glare of the midday sun, this landscape responds to escape the mundane. It hardens even further. A dull, hazy sky reveals its own strange ironies. Rock exposures increase their capacity to feel at once sun-baked and tundra-cool in the very same perception. It is strangeness that brings to the whole pre-conscious sweep of the senses a momentum that swells to breach the silence of a strictly functional environment— which consciousness normally neglects— into a hardy land enchanted with a consciousness that attends. Strangeness strokes our attention, even if initially unawares. All of this, nonetheless, is accomplished blatantly, and ironically, without mystery. Clarity of form is a basic feature of the Gunks. Here, the mundane has been vanquished by the sheer crispness of the real. There is no need to shroud the unambiguous in a veil of atmospheric mood, mist or shadow— though each may still be discovered in the many hidden recesses of the region.

Castle Point

We make our way, over time, toward the Castle Point approach. We left the moist, cool shadow-land of hemlock and mixed forests around the southwest side of Lake Minnewaska, where patches of light and shadow were dispersed. At the time, the pine-oak forest consisted of hemlock, chestnut and northern red oak, red maple, gray and black birch, and white pine amongst the ubiquitous pitch pine of the ridge. Moisture was more available to the soil when we set out— a soil still relatively poor— but as we transitioned rapidly through an old abandoned field to a smaller, more dispersed scrub forest of a similar diversity, we slowly edged out onto the hotter and drier ecosystem of the diminutive pitch pine forest. It is there that periodic islands of rock were thrust up amidst white cliffs with views of the Gertrude’s Nose ridge across the ravine.

Finally, now, as the ravine has flared out and continued its dive below us, we somehow have come to know, without full knowledge, that the islands of rising conglomerate masses amongst the pitch pine forests are not the variable feature amidst the pine forest— instead, the shifting arrangement of forests themselves are the variable feature upon the ever-present mother rock. Even among the pitch pine forests upon the ridge— often dwarfed in size— variability is achieved by rotating the dominance of twisting mountain laurel trunks, the frequency and character of broad pine strokes, and the spread of oval-leaved blueberry clusters relative to the broad shale carriageway with the white rock that underlies. As body of the terrain, the mother rock occasionally tears away portions of her garments as if to gain relief from the sometimes irritating cover; sweeping aside, in those moments, even the shale grit of the carriageway. We feel the same relief as we take notice of the unembellished forms. The carriageway sweeps through a series of ventures set off to view the broadening Palmaghatt ravine, revealing an increased divergence of our sister ridge across the way as Gertrude sniffs out her own revelation. It is our own road that has diverged, however, and dispatched us to forge a pathway heading west. The sense of impending destination grows until finally we arrive into the open and unambiguous Castle Point viewing ledge.

At Castle Point, we are struck first with the abruptness of the expansive field of view presented before us on every side. The landscape has moved into our personal space en-masse, and then swiftly retreats to draw the movement of our spirit into its reaches. A forest of mature deciduous trees carpets swollen terrain directly in front of us, though we know it is technically well below us only through an afterthought. In the distance, the ridge that leads to Sam’s Point turns to greet us with a straight body that emerges from the undulating terrain to cap the landscape with outstretched form — leading the eye with clear lines to the features on either side. To the left, the fertile Wallkill Valley hovers against the rising arc of Sam’s Point in the distance. The body of Lake Awosting— impressively embracing while in its immediate vicinity— is stretched out and narrowed so as to nestle into the graceful line of the ridge, as the distant Catskill Mountains settle their jubilant roll upon the land. On the left side of our viewing ledge, Hamilton Point pops up from the distance below to jut out a massive block so as to dispatch voyages of the spirit from its own busy harbor. Vision becomes multiplied as first we see Hamilton Point, then we see as if viewing from Hamilton Point through its privileged vantage. Beyond Hamilton Point, the flat Wallkill Valley hovers a blue layer out of the fresh greens of forest in late spring— like deep blue waters beyond the blue-green shallows of the reef.
The Hamilton Point Carriageway runs directly through its namesake mass, offering invitation to its intriguing harbor. From Castle Point it appears isolated amongst a dense forest, like a walled city spied from the distance of a long journey. We will oblige the allure of Hamilton Point shortly. For now, an erratic block sits next to us atop Castle Point as we gaze out toward the Point below. It is the body of this hard object that brings us back and anchors us even though we have launched our spirit from its station. By means of this single boulder we are reminded that this is where our bodies situate despite the extended journey of vision. It is not a large bolder, but as unquestionable object, it proclaims with assurance: “here I sit.” From this ledge vision takes flight in all directions— but it does not partake of a mere flight of fancy. When the spirit enters the visual expanse afforded from Castle Point, it simply wades off the ledge, floating cautiously at first into the crispness of a horizon that greets it like a still body of water. Still, there is nothing non-physical about a landscape that has the capacity to fill our entire visual field. The field of view does not confront us in the manner of a rapidly approaching other— instead, we expand into it silently and without hesitation. Elsewhere in the Gunks the feeling is a similar one of wading into the transparent waters of an enveloping, slightly undulating horizon. It is so strong in some places— for instance, upon the ledge near Copes Lookout overlooking Clove Valley— that one catches oneself halting the unconscious step beyond the polished floor into the horizon that washes ashore with gentle, incessant transparence. This feeling is very different from a true mountain summit.

In summits, small and large, the feeling is often that of the entire world drawing into one’s privileged perspective for submission and survey. Summits retain a heightened demarcation between subject and object. Distant and proximal are ever at odds, even though the world seems to funnel into the subjective pole. In the Shawangunks, Sky Top at Mohonk occasionally fosters that kind of sight. Looking southwest from portions of Sky Top, it is the Gunks themselves that appear to be the turbulent sea, swirling in concentric circles around us. The mountains push forth a cascading crescendo of conglomerate wave fronts about to wash over the flat Wallkill Valley. One watches the calamity with mesmerized interest— addressed mainly to the tension of the meeting. Time itself has been solidified at precisely the dramatic moment. We are halted in the same flow, but somehow we still remain removed from the drama. We simply look on, as if from the mast of a great ship.

In contrast to the more dramatic scene from Sky Top— Castle Point ledge and Copes Lookout present themselves, like Hamilton Point below, as the docking and dispatch points for a visual journey into calmer, transparent seas. The sea is the slowly undulating terrain with its crisp sky partner not merely hovering, but in seamless, melding embrace. The coupled horizon simply arrives penetrating the shoreline with a rhythmic flow that draws you out as it silently recedes. You are not even aware that it has penetrated your personal space, or that you have wandered out with it, but the rhythm has been tuned by the cadence of your gaze. You have become lost to the slow and simple rhythm of engaged sight.
CHOICE PLATTER

It takes a few moments wading in these transparent waters for the body to become more aware of the rock ledge upon which it stands. Moving to and fro, we at first simply anchor our relative motion on the massive shelves of conglomerate that we stand upon. Still, we discover ourselves constantly moving upon the landing’s surface. But underneath that movement, the formation presents not only a functional viewing platform, it presents— like so many places in the Gunks— a presence of its own accord; but only with the right viewing angle or attitude. The style offered by this terraced slab never entirely extricates itself from its neglected role as solid grounding. It wraps around a bend in the carriageway with a staggered sweep of ledges— until one gazes up to the carriage trail that it supports. It is then that the platform amasses its native weight and bearing. In this case, it bears the entire sweeping carriageway with its binary choice laid out starkly from this perspective. Either we return on the path of our arrival to the right, or we continue round the bend to the left, toward the Hamilton Point Carriageway below. The choice lies physical before us, as if on a giant platter. We step up and choose the Hamilton Point Carriageway to the left because it will loop us back toward Lake Minnewaska from a different route.

Immediately following the Castle Point vista, a series of snaking bends rapidly conforms the carriage trail to the descending terrain. To our left, prior to snaking completely back in our descent, an expansive surface of white rock awaits just beyond the mountain laurel, blueberry bushes, and dwarf pines that line the carriage road. Here, adjacent to Battlement Terrace, the interest remains primarily attached to the surface. Although it offers a wide set of views that sweep from Sam’s Point to the Catskill Mountains, it is the broad conglomerate field that retains most of the interest. To the neglect of the handsome rock that fills most of our visual field, with our chin raised we can see a narrow band of horizon. Here, unlike Castle Point ledge, the field of rock at our feet entices all wandering and movement, not the promise of a greater vantage. From a central location on the broad rock surface we are led by a prominent duct-like gap in the rock toward a select viewing edge. It is there that the rock unveils a hidden, almost internal glimpse of the carriage road snaking below us, seemingly buried in a secret chamber accessed from the jagged edge. Just ahead, the carriage road turns back on itself and winds below this ledge, directly underneath the half-walled chamber we look down from. White blocks boldly line the crushed bluestone road as it courses through the fresh green vegetation of our late spring trek. Birch trunks lyrically paint the sinuous nature of the trail’s forested edge in sparse, but deliberative white strokes. Once again we discover that it is a convergence of contrasts that elicits the aesthetic. The expansive white field and the block-lined carriageway project boldness and structure, but wisps of white edging have been added to balance the large masses with a graceful sweep just to the side of the wide bluestone trail. The abutment of a dense green forest against the clean-drafted curves of the carriageway lined with cubical forms requires these spontaneous strokes to introduce delicacy into the strict and massive organization of the scene. All of this confluence of organized accident is confirmed as we head up to the carriage road to make the hairpin turn and descend below the mass that we just ranged upon. From below, we are offered additional cross-sectional views of the white rock’s layered composition.

As described in Philosopher’s Stone, these sediments consist of a dramatic 420 million year old creation story that is written in the conglomerate layers. Passing beyond the sediments and the last reaches of the extended mass, the feeling transforms into that of departing an ancient city of stone that has been recently excavated— and indeed, geologically it has. Soon after we pass the ancient site, an important delegation of carriage trails seems to engage in dialogue. We are duly informed of our road back to the left via the Hamilton Point Carriageway, just beyond another carriage road that sweeps down to Lake Awosting from our right.
HAMILTON POINT

The Hamilton Point Carriageway is as handsome in this region as the Castle Point Carriageway was just above it. The old roads, in fact, merge insignificantly. But contrary to the sworn testimony of the Castle Point ledge, the Hamilton Point outcrop is closer than it had appeared when set upon from above. In general, the Gunks enjoy playing such illusory games with distance— postponing arrival to most destinations and making others appear more distant than is truly the case. Our arrival to Hamilton Point discloses another peculiarity. At first sight the large stone exposure with its winding carriage road bisecting it appears not to be as massive as that anticipated from Castle Point. This assessment too, is relative. Further investigation discloses an impressive outcrop with much of the size distributed in the vertical root of the mass. Here, unlike Castle Point, many of the fractured surfaces longingly desire to be sent aloft so as to drift slowly into the horizon. They remain, however, securely tethered to the mother mass. A large debris field of sunken masses provides warning for those who did not take heed. We’ve arrived at a highly fractured little harbor indeed! Approaching from the Castle Point side, Hamilton Point has the feel of an old sea faring cluster— a population of fractured conglomerate surfaces jostled about like tiny boats amassed in congestion from harbor-funneled waves. As was the case upon Castle Point, the horizon flows in seamlessly here, but testament still resounds of an earlier sea once encased in a great sheet of ice. “I will make you fissures amongst men” said the Great Glacier. And indeed, here we stand amongst impressive broken masses of exposed conglomerate. The Hamilton Point Carriageway bends directly through the great columned mass right to the very edge. Horizon and carriageway meet as the sweeping conglomerate bed floats the road directly into the sky by means of a thrilling curve. There is a sense of flight that is undeniably present as the carriageway edges around the apex. The experience is weightier than imagination, however, for it bears the infinite mass of a rock grounding. Unlike that at Castle Point, however, the feeling of extending into the horizon does not come from lending our vision outward. Instead, the beautiful conglomerate slabs that constitute the carriageway sweep us along with it, exposed to the atmosphere as we round the bend. From a different vantage the floating carriageway is broken. Looking from below, the sky-bound bend is revealed as merely the flattened top of huge layered columns rising from bedrock roots. The columns reveal their sedimentation again, but still they rise strong as individual masses. Together in stacked profile they lean back in reverence to an intimate sky, but they remain proud, individual, as Occidental root stuff. One of the lower stacks near the tree line is topped with a round, polished surface. At the center of the round platform a single elongated and tapered pyramidal block sits patient, uncannily like an ancient sundial— the chance fracturing and placement symbolizing the bold presence of Time. Unlike Castle Point, Hamilton Point demonstrates an asymmetry between its approach from Castle Point and its approach at the near terminus of the Hamilton Point Carriageway from Lake Minnewaska. Its profile from Castle Point is majestic and welcoming as it slants in a gesture of open invitation. Once explored and rounded, however, Hamilton Point rapidly disengages from its carriageway with complete disinterest—remaining orientated exclusively to the transparent sky. The road immediately wraps itself in a play of speckled light and shadow amongst a mixed scrub and pine forest of thinly spaced trees. Shadows quickly close in upon the trail with welcome relief, but it is not a change in temperature that brings a renewed air; it is simply the unexpected nature of the abrupt transition, and recognition of the trajectory back home. The descent is gentle and consistent. A slow re-coupling with the sister ridge that we set off with from Lake Minnewaska occurs gradually. Gertrude’s Nose lies in the distance, displaying no sense of the silent magic it harbors for those who wander its surface. At first, the intervening Palmaghatt Ravine wedges the divergent ridges with a textured treetop carpet running longitudinally in a mound. Later, as the funneling gets more pronounced, it discreetly rises and then dips below awareness to assist a gradual heightening of the converging ridge lines by virtue of its negative presence. The Hamilton Point Carriageway runs parallel to and directly beneath the Castle Point Carriageway on the west side of the ravine. Although the views are similar to those from the Castle Point Carriageway that we were on earlier, the forest is cooler upon Hamilton Point Carriageway— with a greater diversity than the ridge top pitch pine forests lining Castle Point Carriageway.
SIGHT UNSEEN

We see the scene and we see the seer but we still don’t see the seeing(C.H.Carver)

Whether the journey has been engaged on foot, on a mountain bike, or on cross-country skis, this stage of the return loop turns inward for long stretches. The physical requirements of pace and distance have accumulated the necessity for a steadily mustered response. Consistency in cadence is an award well achieved as it reasserts satisfaction with a response to the demand. But physical exertion imparts its own aesthetic satisfaction that is embedded in the dialogue that takes place in the normally mute rising of a perceptual journey. In contrast to sheer physical activity, however, we engage a lingering journey throughout these essays— not particularly through our cadence, but in our reception to a budding awareness not yet fully clothed. It is that silent ebb and flow of sentience that has its own valleys and ridges imparted to it in the process of bringing to fruition a situated environment to confront. Early in the process of perception, in silence, that internal terrain assists the completion of form without thought— but the full process matures into consciousness through a cyclical gathering of momentum. Belated but inflated demands cycle in overt solicitations for thought by reintroducing into the still-organizing stratum of the senses to firm up the budding trajectories that will provide clear direction for the continued momentum of thoughtless action or new directions of emergent thought. Perceptual forms become infused with a set of structuring mandates and self-oriented concerns. This initial sweep inflates so much prior to awareness that we apprehend no gaps or budding inception at its core. Instead, we inhabit only the clear portal of our related thoughts and feelings that are belatedly applied to perceptual attentiveness. These we identify as our essence, our spirit, or our consciousness at the time. They feel to us pre-established, “behind the scenes” and positioned apart— and that is how we automatically fancy ourselves.

But that kind of awareness is belated— a refried process addressed only to a tiny stream in an already coursing flow. Only one branch in the tree has been selected to represent the given situation based on a relevance, or more basically, the functional requirement for the insertion of choice and agency—that which we call a self.  Still, this center of thought is but a secondary re-processing, an elaboration of the more basic living flow at the level of the natural organism that we also embody— or perhaps we should say, embodies us.  Underneath the lucid and clear boundary that we seem to instantiate as a separate seat of thought, every scene has already been assisted in its basic fruition by an active and ongoing coupling that our bodies have engaged and dispatched with a physical environment not yet fully clothed with the basic attribute of the real.
And so we range upon an already clothed set of forms while our senses and thoughts ebb and flow upon a ground that we know without thought to simply exist beneath us in every direction— because we cannot be there during the coupling and fruition of a specifically human style consciousness already stabilized beneath our reflexive thoughts. In the end, we have an infinitely harder challenge envisioning this ‘laying down’ of sediments comprising our very own perceptual consciousness than we do projecting that consciousness into a virtual past that we did not actually live through. It is easier, for example, for us to virtually be present to the first Gunks sediments laid down some 420 million years ago than to accept that the sediments of our own being are stacked and rooted in a larger sentience that is already manifest in the natural organism that we also embody prior to thought.

GLIDING HOME

At a point nearly two-thirds of the way back to Lake Minnewaska, a block lined cul-de-sac loops off the carriageway. The little loop near Echo Rock provides views to the east, where the Millbrook Mountain Carriageway arcs gently to seamlessly merge with the flat topped Gertrude’s Nose Trail as delineated by their cliffs. Patterson’s Pellet, a large glacial erratic boulder situates precariously to command the exposed cliff across the ravine. The boulder lies just off Millbrook Mountain Drive, as visited in The Sound of Still Boulders companion essay. Looking north, the humped Sky Top escarpment with its iconic stone tower at Mohonk rises above the white cliffs near Lake Minnewaska just ahead. The carriageway transitions soon after Echo Rock into a fern-lined hemlock forest once again. The air changes with the transition— feeling moist and piney. It is not the same mossy air that keeps even the light conglomerate rocks cool and dark in certain valleys in the Shawangunks, but it provides an earthy soil nonetheless.

These vaults are immensely pleasing in this region because they constitute the Gunks’ locally manufactured blend. But it is through contrast, once again, that their potency is increased— for refreshment saturates into a hardy-bushed, sun-exposed volume that we have breathed for much of the day.When the Hamilton Point Carriageway meets Millbrook Mountain Carriageway before a hollow on the south side of Lake Minnewaska, it is easy to miss the fact that we are at the terminus of Palmaghatt Ravine. All attention is focused on the return to Lake Minnewaska. Millbrook Mountain Carriageway leads to the Gertrude’s Nose Trail— the sacred Etruscan necropolis of our early metaphor— and the subject of the The Sound of Still Boulders essay. 

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C.H. Carver, from Philosopher's Stone
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The links below access the online adapted version of the book and do not correspond to the order published in the physical booklet. Only a few master copies of the book remain (published 2018), so this set constitutes the original impetus of the work in a different order. In the physical book, the essay "Intimate Otherness" (below) introduced the Gunks through Mohonk Mountain House, the historical introductory anchor to the region. Don't forget to check out related Gunks landscapes (on istockphoto by Getty Images).


ESSAYS

a phenomenological essay series
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