You think you know a place. That is, until someone comes along with another point of view and helps you see and smell something that was right under your nose. But how can you really know something as expansive in territory, as diverse in flora and fauna, as rich in history as the Adirondacks?
Well, that's the job of the Visitors' Interpretive Centers at Paul Smiths and Newcomb, to help us better know this place. And that's just what happened June 9th when Peggy Lynn and I sang at the Paul Smiths VIC and took part in a panel discussion on Adirondack songwriting.
What a wonderful and rewarding day! I came away from the Paul Smiths VIC with a fresh perspective on this piece of earth and my relationship with it. There were walks on trails, songs and tales of today and days gone by, glorious sights and sounds. After the Adirondack Music Celebration of jazz and folk concerts, I participated in a panel of musicians moderated by North Country Public Radio's Jackie Sauter. All of us, audience included, considered the past, present and future of the region from a songwriter's point of view. This engaging discussion was part of a series called Adirondack Interpretation Through the Arts. Other programs include writing, photography and storytelling.
Interpretation. That's what each of us does all the time as we try to understand life a little deeper, a little broader. Historians and scientists are more objective in their interpretations. Just as precise but more subjective,artists of all kinds search for truths to touch people. They use myths and symbols, metaphors and similes to carry us like canoes through the rapids of complexity. Science and art are parts of the whole. We need both. To diminish either, limits our levels of understanding and our joy in living.
The VICs know this and we're extremely fortunate to have them. And I feel good that Andy Flynn, a former student of mine, is working there, helping to make this happen. You can visit their website at: www.northnet.org/adirondackvic/index.html