Mosaic in Lobby of FDR/ER Library, revealing the lay of the land and our pilgrimage to excellence, last weekend and last May…
NJWILDBEAUTY readers know I have just returned from the Hudson River Valley, with two dear members of the Intrepids, Jeanette Hooban and Janet Black. We were on yet another Eleanor-and-Franklin-quest. Mountains taught us that they have nothing to do with with other weathers in nearby regions, nor even with sophisticated forecasts. Many a day was grim and grey, but mountains sustained us, and Springwood and the FDR/ER Library significantly expanded our knowledge of our two heroes.
Top Cottage, designed by FDR as getaway from his formidable mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt
Top Cottage won’t be open til May, so we Intrepids will plan another journey.
Here are images from a sunnier time in Hyde Park and Rhinebeck. Travel with us – having all the advantages, and none of the disadvantages of our getaway.
Perhaps we should credit the examples of Eleanor and Franklin, where courage and persistence are concerned, with the continuing fortitude of the Intrepids.
Despite mountain-birthed weather systems last weekend, Jeanette and Janet and I made repeated pilgrimages into sites vital to Eleanor and Franklin, without whom the world would not have been saved from the most dire Depression and all those wars.
Our hikes were curtailed, but our history-quest expanded and expanded.
Gastronomic treats abounded in nearby Rhinebeck.
And purple mountain majesties brooded impressively over all, often reflected in the shimmering broad Hudson River that sustained ‘my’ president. Janet rode home to Manhattan in a sleek train that hugged the river’s shore. Mountains seemed carved of slate, reflected in waters running orange and coral and tangerine and pink and mauve, right outside her window.
Those forested slopes crowning the landscapes reminded us that FDR was a legend and an enemy (depending upon party) in his time for creating crucial National Parks, –especially saving the Everglades; and attending to the needs of wild creatures, –particularly the American bald eagle and the trumpeter swan. Coming upon a clear-cut in the West, our president, my president, is quoted in Douglas Brinkley’s new book on FDR and land preservation, as hoping that the “s.o.b. who logged that is roasting in hell.” As a child, we never heard language like this. As a greatly disillusioned adult, I rejoice in his accuracy, even prophecy. For the clearcutting seems to go on unabated, nature’s foes seeming to say “the hell with carbon sinks.”
There wouldn’t be an Assateague without Franklin’s courage, nor my beloved Monomoy Wildlife Refuge off Chatham, Massachusetts. This president buttressed the legendary Rosalie Edge of Hawk Mountain Refuge, above nearby Hamburg, Pennsylvania, in stopping the most egregious raptor slaughter in our land.
I confess to having assumed that TR was the National Park President. Yes, but his relative, his successor, knew the essentiality of saving wild America, especially her coastlines.
So much that makes America America, we owe to Roosevelts.
In case you wonder, that’s why THIS preservationist keeps making pilgrimages to the Hudson River Valley.
And why she brought home Brinkley’s Rightful Heritage – Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America, to take its place ultimately alongside Brinkley’s The Wilderness Warrier — Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America.