God’s Awesome Landscape
“Take time to smell the roses” may sound like a cliché, but it encapsulates my lessons learned recently while visiting my middle daughter in God’s gorgeous acres nes tled in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York.
Mackenzie, having just completed a degree in historic preservation, was fulfilling a summer internship at Camp Santanoni, one of several dozen “Great Camps of the Adirondacks” built in the 1800s and 1900s. The sprawling estates were designed by wealthy families to serve as wilderness retreats and provide summertime refuge from city life. Camp Santanoni’s historic thirty-two acres include a stone-gate lodge—home during my stay—a farm complex, and the main camp, which features a five-acre lake and a log villa bigger than an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The five-mile path into the main complex is only accessible by foot, bike, or horse and wagon.
My immersion into this habitat of incalculable serenity and beauty began each morning as we ate on the front porch of the gate lodge and soaked in the view of a crystal-clear stream bustling over a rocky shore covered by a canopy of blooming trees. At night, through the open window above my bed, I drifted off to the sound of the rushing water and awoke to the call of loons.
With motorized vehicles banned from the path to camp, a local man provides a horse-drawn wagon ride during the height of the tourist season from June to October. Part of Mackenzie’s job was to field questions and provide the site’s history on the ninety-minute ride in. I tagged along for a weekend tour, and we decided to camp at the site and hike the following evening after she finished working.
There was no electricity, running water, or cell service. We paddled a canoe a half-mile across the lake to a fresh-water spring to collect water. With no distractions, we took in the splendor and magnitude of God’s creation. Imposing mountains were the backdrop to a picturesque landscape surrounding the lake that had never been assaulted by the hum and fumes of a motor, only the digs of paddles. A quarter-mile jaunt around the lake led to a narrow beach area. I sat for hours on the trunk of a fallen tree that jutted out to the lake. I prayed silently in gratitude to God for the beauty of the earth surrounding me.
As you broach the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I encourage you to reflect on a time you were compelled to “take time to smell the roses.” Appreciate the loveliness of life lived and that which is yet to come.