Posted by: penpatience | September 11, 2012

THE HERMITS AND ME

News: My latest fiction short story, “Tattered Rose,” has been published in the Fall (July-Aug-Sept) issue of The Storyteller Magazine

Peoples Choice Award-The Storyteller Magazine(Apr-May-June 2012)issue: “Edythe with a Y” was voted #1 in the essay category by the magazine’s readers.

www.thestorytellermagazine.com 

The Hermits and Me – September 2012 Monthly Musing

I met Noah John Rondeau (7/6/1883-8/24/1967), the most famous hermit of the Adirondack Mountains during a recent visit to the Adirondack Museum located in Blue Mountain Lake, New York. Noah was the most widely known hermit in the high peaks and spent decades in the Adirondack wilds. When I viewed information and stories about his life, I was astonished to read he kept extensive journals written in letter substitution ciphers of his own invention during several of these decades. These journals weren’t deciphered until long after his death sometime before 1992.

While I continued to read about Noah’s reclusive life, I realized Noah and I had a few things in common. Both prolific writers, Noah wrote in the mountains while I, too, distanced myself from life’s daily disturbances when writing.  Noah had few distractions in those early years living without electricity, television, and long before the appearance of today’s explosive technologies. While Noah retreated to the mountains, I retreat down to “the hole,” the name I’ve given my basement office where I always write in silence with no television, music or other inane media distractions. This personal evacuation to my personal space also reminds me of Noah’s need for self-containment and creative quietude.

 Noah was self-educated with only an eighth grade education and along with hunting and fishing he played the violin for occasional visitors who  hiked to his hut to look in on him. I can relate to Noah’s love of the Adirondacks because I spent many vacations camping in the Adirondack state parks with family and friends. The quietude of nature without media interference was a brief and enjoyable respite.

Although I respect individuals who choose a reclusive lifestyle for whatever their reasons, I could never become a true hermit. This is best explained by the grave marker of another Adirondack hermit, Jimmy O’Kane, dated 1858 at Stillwater, New York:

“Found dead and alone nobody heard his last faint groan,

Or knew when his sad heart ceased to beat;

No mourner lingered with tears or sighs,

But the stars looked down with pitying eyes,

And the chill winds passed with a wailing sound

O’er the lonely spot where his form was found.”

 

 

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