Sunday, October 8, 2017

Happy Camper

So, you might be wondering why there was no homily posted last Sunday.  We'll, I started last weekend with one of my "usual" camp-outs (Thursday-Friday), enjoying a good hike through the woods and a night spent on the shore of Little Green Pond (near Lake Clear) with Fr. Stitt.

It's when I left Little Green Pond that things got a LOT more interesting.

I headed next to Newcomb, where I had registered to take part in Philosophers' Camp.  Back in 1858, 10 prominent New England intellectuals (including Ralph Waldo Emerson) gathered on the shores of Follensby Pond in the Adirondacks (incidentally, not too terribly far from Little Green Pond) where they spent several days "roughing it" in the wild, discussing the important matters of the day.

Beginning in the fall of 2015, SUNY ESF's Northern Forest Institute (Newcomb) and St. John's College (Annapolis/Santa Fe) revived the tradition, opening the invitation to a small group of interested folks to come together for a weekend at ESF's beautiful Masten House on remote Henderson Lake to discuss carefully selected works around a particular theme.

I picked up a brochure about Philosophers' Camp when I was visiting friends in Newcomb back in August, and my curiosity was immediately piqued.  I took the plunge and signed up!

So I found myself around the table Friday through Sunday engaged in lively and engaging seminars with 15 others who'd come from the North Country/Adirondacks and rural Kentucky, from New York City, Baltimore, and Santa Fe.  In the mix we had college professors and high school teachers, a psychiatrist and some philanthropists, an artist and a poet, an organic farmer and a genetic engineer.  And did I mention a Catholic priest was thrown in, too, for variety's sake?

Not only was the conversation fascinating and far-ranging (and often, rather fun, too), but we also enjoyed some good food and drink, as well as time exploring our wild surroundings.  Some took a hike through the woods; I joined the crew that canoed on Henderson Lake to take in the stunning view of Wallace Mountain which flanks Indian Pass.

It was not the usual company I keep, nor my usual wilderness outing...but Philosophers' Camp was sure a delightful way to spend a weekend in the Adirondacks!

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