“Chagrin River, Wraiths of the Season”

Posted on Dec, Fri, 2022 in Black & White, Musings from Still Point

“Chagrin River, Wraiths of the Season”


Driving along Chagrin River Road, winding north from Rt. 87 another three tortuous miles as the road traces the river and escarpment into the village of Gates Mills, one is mesmerized by the desolate beauty that has arrived overnight. Northern Ohio’s autumn landscape is frequently transformed in the course of an evening as the deciduous forests that descend into the Chagrin Valley surrender their color to the cold winds of November.

Each year the sudden manifestation of ghostly sycamores (image above) unnerves me, appearing specter-like in a brief moment. Beech and birch, maple and oak, even black cherry shedding their luminous colors overnight, leaving behind the bones of great American sycamores. Standing like sentries, dendritic arms stretching to us who would tremble, holding dominion only to recede into the verdant masks of May.
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“New Haven Mills, Vermont

Posted on Dec, Fri, 2022 in Landscapes, Musings from Still Point

“New Haven Mills, Vermont”

Departing Hinesburg VT. (15 miles south of Burlington), 10 days ago, Kate and I drove south on Rt. 116 through small towns and villages like Bristol, Starkville and New Haven Mills before reaching the college town of Middlebury, home to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the oldest and one of the world’s most acclaimed writers’ conferences. Since its founding in 1926 it has attracted many of this country’s greatest writers, including such luminaries as Frost, Welty, Stegner, Cather and numerous other notable national and international poets and novelists.

Notwithstanding the picturesque Middlebury campus, the photograph below was taken in the small, rather nondescript village of New Haven Mills, immediately preceding the college. It showcases the old Lampson School (now a home) occupying several acres on a hillock overlooking the village and the New Haven Mills’ river. The scenery and 19th century character of the village can be intimated through this image. Built in 1868 and included in the “National Register of Historic Places,” it has been cited for its beautiful, Italianate architecture. For me it held particular interest having grown up in the Connecticut Western Reserve of northeast Ohio. We lived in a historic old farmhouse constructed originally in the tradition of a Connecticut home to which was added an Italianate styled section in 1843. The older, original section of the house (my childhood home) was constructed between 1815 and 1817 by John Seward, the first minister of the Connecticut Western Reserve.

Passing through these small towns and villages, experiencing vestiges of the past as we made our way to Hudson, New York and the Catskills, we reflected on the early days of America.
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