Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fairy Spring, Lakewood Cemetery & Natty Bumpo

This is the second in a series of posts by guest blogger, Michele Harvey. Fenimore Art Museum will exhibit new work by Harvey in the exhibition Watermark: Michele Harvey & Glimmerglass, beginning April 1, 2010.
On the wooded eastern shores of Glimmerglass there are quiet spots, mostly known to locals. At first glance Fairy Spring Park is just a steeply pitched, wooded picnic area and narrow dock. That is, until one finds the trail. The trail begins just north of the park proper. It disappears into the woods, literally. Although poorly kept, it reveals worthy secrets if you take the time. It's a hike for the sure-footed. The terrain is very steep and slippery. Fairy Spring is an apt name. The wooded, nearly vertical slope is covered by moss, ferns and tree roots. Under this living skin of roots and moss, rivulets sharply make their way down to the lake. It's a quiet, leafy place fit for fairies. Across the way, a 1932 iron plaque states:
Where "Natty Bumpo" Leatherstocking rescued Chingachgook from flames". Chingach dying in his care. "Pioneer".

Even today, one can surely imagine James Fenimore Cooper's 'Deerslayer' stalking these woods.
Hard by, is Lakewood cemetery. Upslope from Fairy Spring, it's a steep and terraced burying ground, full of stately trees and old stones. Each turn of the way, each unique monument calls to the curious. A quiet refuge from the world, where the water softly shimmers up from the lake, and a deep, cushioning moss hangs o'er all. Chipmunks and birds make it a lively spot, playing in expertly laid-stone walls and stone staircases. There is age here and history, and touching tales. A hand-hewn granite boat in full sail, attests to the love for family and water. Up the twin, steeply curved, stone staircases, a bench to contemplate a hero of the Titanic. It is a worthy place.

Cemeteries were the first American parklands. At a time when people preferred home burial, but when growing cities made that idea impractical. Here then, is an ideal spot, close enough to town for family to visit and spend a pleasant afternoon.


Anonymous said...

beautiful paintings . will they be in in the show ?

michelle said...

Yes, there will be several watercolor sketches included in the exhibition. Hope you can make it to Cooperstown to see the show!

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