One of things that I found to help "make sense" of everything that is happening in our region is to reflect on the words of others who have explored some of the same issues. It's nice to know that we are not alone in our effort to document events and share perspectives. Many times we find these reflections are expressed in a way that is more eloquent, and meaningful, than most of us could ever hope to achieve.
As I researched last week's local history story, and thought about some of the recent conversations I have had with residents about the preservation of the Adirondacks - a quote from William Chapman White's classic book, "Adirondack Country," caught my eye.
He writes: "As a man tramps the woods to the lake he knows he will find pines and lilies, blue herons and golden shiners, shadows on the rocks and the glint of light on the wavelets, just as they were in the summer of 1354, as they will be in 2054 and beyond. He can stand on a rock by the shore and be in a past he could not have known, in a future he will never see. He can be a part of time that was and time yet to come."
In reading this, I believe White understood the nature of this region, and the timelessness of it. From this perspective, our personal view of history is intimately connected and fluid - representing a small snapshot as fleeting as a "glint of light."
This summer we have learned a lot about the history of our region. From Indian Lake's Sesquicentennial and the Blue Mountain Lake Museum, to Newcomb's Teddy Roosevelt Celebration and dozens of smaller events in between - we are a region that honors our history even if we hesitate to call it our own.
In the center of it all stands the town of Johnsburg and the hamlet of North Creek. Like the wooden decking of the Railroad Depot Station - this quiet and somewhat hidden little town on the edge of the mighty Hudson River has witnessed a lot of history pass by.
So what is the value of history? Why should we care what happened 50, 100, or even 200 years ago? Well - whether your family arrived here by walking across a land bridge in Alaska, a wooden ship from Europe, or via the Garden State Parkway - we are bound by a sense of place and purpose in a land that for us is timeless.
As White pointed out - what we do today and how we pay respect to the past, will define the future for people we will never meet. The real value of history and our appreciation for it lies in the realization that we are living it every day.
When we look ahead to 2054, what we see is every bit as important as what happened in 1354. While standing upon White's shore, we can contemplate the beauty of the world around us. Through this, we remember that it is history that casts "shadows on the rocks and the glint of light on the wavelets."
Whether the history we are living is our own or someone else's, we just have to remember that either way, it will always be the story of all of us.
Brett Hagadorn is the editor of the News Enterprise. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org