Minnewaska Fire

We could smell it coming over the mountains in High Falls, that dreadful dry and crispy smell, a few thousand acres of wildlands burning in the heat, 30 fire companies trying to contain it. Nothing like this in 50 years. Not since the Minnewaska hotel itself burned, which I remember. It had already closed. My mother bought plates at the closing sale. I have them now, with a little green sketch of one of the rustic little bench houses they'd built all along the lake, up on the Shawungunk rock. There was always a smell there, of pine needles in the heat, of very clear mountain air. I went there often. I don't remember it ever raining. Then it was gone, as they say.

Of course there was a lot more to it than that. Arson was suspected. There was a bitter story with a bitter, charring ending. The land endured, the giant clapboard hotel didn't, the stories, of course, did.

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