To someone from the unglaciated Appalachians, more than the young, rugged mountains it’s the abundance of natural lakes and ponds that seems exotic, even without a glimpse of the elusive moose whose dark bulk we kept seeing in every lakeside spruce and drowned stump.
Even the creeks looked different, wrinkling over such different rocks.
They seemed so impetuous, compared to the slow calm waters of a Pennsylvania trout stream older than the hills it flows through.
Waterfalls were everywhere, as you’d expect in mountains that are still being born. I admired the shining staircases they made, perfect in their jumbled lack of uniformity.
We who are mostly salt water might at least aspire to an anadromous return. For me, the north woods with its bare granite outcroppings and abundant lakes conjures up an idyllic time and place I barely remember, having moved to Pennsylvania from our lakeside farm in central Maine when I was five. But I imprinted deeply on forests like these. My mother has said that as a small child, being taken into the forest was the one thing guaranteed to stop my otherwise nearly incessant crying.
More than once last week I thought of the Chinese proverb, “Humans seek out high places; waters seek the low.” I watched clouds form beneath my feet.