When we arrived in Woodstock, M & Q were still recovering from a winter cold, so for those first couple of afternoons, they napped while I went hiking with my mum and her dog.
It was bitter cold for the first few days, but the weather was spectacularly beautiful nonetheless. Recent snows combined with broad sunshine turned the woods around Woodstock - and the Sawkill river - into a wonderland.
I am not well-suited to the East Coast climate. Long stretches of grey skies, icy paths, and the kind of biting cold that typifies and Eastern winter are difficult for me to tolerate, not to mention the mugginess, biting insects and blanketing heat of summer. So I never appreciated the East for its true beauty until long after I had moved away. Now, from a safe distance, I can appreciate it in a way I never did as a child - and I think you can see that in these pictures.
And then there are all my mother's wonderful stories. She has walked and ridden these same woods and pathways since her family moved here from Europe when she was about 10. She can tell you, for instance, that she and some of the other local kids used to gallop their horses down to the watering hole you see above, which is deep and turquoise-green in summer, and, without slowing, jump their mounts headlong off the small slate ledge into the depths of the pool, tack, clothes and all.
It feels good to be able to go back and appreciate this place where I was born though fresh, unencumbered eyes, without any shadow of the resentment and discontent of my tweenage years.
And that waterfall! Just, wow.
Fortunately by our last day in town my husband was recovered and was able to take this same walk with my mother while I watched over the napping babe. I would have felt terrible if he had missed out on all this wanton beauty.