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Susan Fox Rogers: Steady River

Fox Rogers on the Hudson river and experience of mourning @ Berfois.

When I moved to the Hudson Valley from the desert southwest, where I had made my home for five years, I knew I would miss those wide western skies—a cliché, I know, but a good one—under which I could hike for hours and not see another person. It turns out I need a lot of space to move, to think; ideas come to me while I am in motion, like Thoreau on his strolls through the New England woods.

Lucky for me, someone dropped me into the Hudson River in a kayak and there I found the freedom and space I needed. On the river I could do what I wanted: paddle at dawn or in the dark, from one side to the other, or under the railroad tracks and into secret bays. In a small boat, a river is a near lawless world.
I had spent a lifetime outdoors, rock climbing and back country skiing but there were no boats in my past. So as I explored north and south, I had no idea what I was doing. That is, I didn’t know how to properly hold a paddle, but I also did not know that the Hudson was an estuary the length of 154 miles from Manhattan to Troy. I had to learn the complex movement of currents and tides.
I immediately saw the advantage of my perspective. There are many things you can see only from a boat on the river: graceful mansions, great graffiti, rogue encampments on islands, and spectacular sunsets. I felt like an explorer in uncharted lands.

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