If you read chapter 9 in The Primal Key, you know a little about Aunt Margaret’s world. She chose to spend her “retirement” in New York, hiking the Catskills. Although she is often spotted near a large maple tree on a grassy, autumn hillside, her favorite destination is Kaaterskill Clove, a deep gorge, or valley.
So how did I pick the Catskills for Aunt Margaret? Ambling through The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I came across A Gorge in the Mountains by Sanford Robinson Gifford. It fit Margaret’s tastes perfectly. I easily imagined Margaret relaxing under the birch trees surrounding an outcrop of rocks marking the edge of a steep cliff, admiring the bowl-shaped valley surrounded by soft, rounded mountains. Although you can’t make them out in Gifford’s painting, in Margaret’s world, yellow, orange and red trees reflect on the glassy, smooth lake at the valley’s center. A waterfall glistens as it cuts its way through a distant mountain in three cascades before plunging into the river feeding the lake.
In real life, that waterfall is called Kaaterskill Falls and has only two stages, which are still quite impressive. It is peak fall foliage time right now and I’m sure the Kaaterskill Falls Trail is stunning.
You can visit A Gorge in the Mountains at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The American Wing, gallery 761. Sanford Robinson Gifford was born in Greenfield, New York, during the summer of 1823. He painted A Gorge in the Mountains in 1862. He died of malaria on August 29, 1880 in New York City. For those of you who read my Shades of Death Road or River post, you know malaria is, and was, not limited to tropical and subtropical regions. Aunt Margaret, an art and nature lover would be drawn to Gifford’s scenic landscape paintings. In fact, a number of his works adorn the walls of her lakeside cabin (more on that in The Plight of the Plexus, Book 2).
“A Gorge in the Mountains” image is in the public domain. Source: ttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gifford_Sanford_Robinson_A_Gorge_In_The_Mountains.jpg