Martha on the Mountain

April 30, 2010

At Cornwall, Ct.

Martha atop Mohawk Mountain, Cornwall, Ct., whittling

Martha atop Mohawk Mountain, Cornwall, Ct., whittling

It was 51 degrees and windy when I arrived atop Mohawk Mountain about 9:45 yesterday morning. Sitting on a rock was an older woman, wearing warm clothes and gloves, whittling a hiking staff from a dead sapling that was something less than two inches in diameter at its thick end. We were the only people atop the mountain, elevation 1,677 feet, from which there are expansive views of the surrounding Litchfield Hills and into the Massachusetts Berkshires.

I approached, asking if in fact she was making a walking stick, and she said, pleasantly, that she was. She said she likes to take a cut or fallen sapling or branch, strip the bark with her knife and let the wood dry. Then she burns images into the stick. Perhaps images of wildflowers one day, images of leaves another. She said that she likely would decorate this stick with an image of the Berkshire peaks that spread before us on the horizon.

Her name is Martha, and she lives in Morris, a rural town not that far away. She has lots of interests that keep her busy, she said, and this was one of them. She also makes quilts. She is 82. I told her that one of the reasons she is 82 and headed for 102 is that she took the trouble, on this cool morning, to venture to the top of one of Connecticut’s higher peaks to whittle in a peaceful setting with a view. She is not passing time, I thought, she is living well.

11 Responses to “Martha on the Mountain”

  1. Rich says:

    Martha My Dear,

    This uplifting tail made me think of one of my favorite Beatles’ songs. Although she’s no silly girl, she is an inspiration.

  2. Steve Grant says:

    Indeed she is.

  3. Mike says:

    That is my Mom. What a nice story. Thank You

  4. Steve Grant says:

    Mike,
    You are welcome. I would have included her last name but, somewhere along the way while hiking that day, I lost my notes.
    Steve

  5. mike says:

    Go grandma!

  6. Pam DeFeo says:

    Martha is my Mom as well! She may have told she has 6 of us scattered about. Some of my best High School memories where from up there on that mountain and wandering the woods
    of Morris and Litchfield, the love of nature she, (Martha) gave to each of her children. Very nice little story and you never know where else she may pop up and surprise you maybe once again!

    Pam

  7. Steve Grant says:

    Somehow I just knew she had children who were nurtured outdoors and cherish her for it.

  8. Karen and Mark says:

    Martha is a dear friend – and we wish her a Happy Mother’s Day – her love, appreciation and stewardship of nature is a gift she passes to all who have the privlege to know her – Love ya Marti/Mom

  9. Nina says:

    I have known Martha all my life through our church in Bantam. She is a rare treasure.

  10. Arlene Kosak says:

    Martha, I just knew it wouldn’t be long before someone discovered your antics. You are by far the most interesting person I ever met, aside from Helen Loomis, of course! It’s time to start writing that book, don’t you think?? Arlene

  11. carol t. moore says:

    Hey Marty……way to go…..
    did you tell him that we casts our faces in plaster for my pottery?????you are a fun lady and an inspiration to us all.
    keep on hiking
    Carol

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