Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Hudson The Hudson

Recently I have been reading Tom Lewis' new book "The Hudson: A History." This is a fascinating book about the historical importance of the Hudson River, which flows along the western boundary of Washington County. Lewis explains:
This continent's great rivers have in large measure defined and shaped American history and culture...

The East belongs to the Hudson. Far more than a short river flowing through New York state, the Hudson is a thread that runs through the fabric of four centuries of American history, through the development of American civilization --- its culture, its community, and its consciousness.

For those living in the United States the Hudson is the river of firsts: the first great river that explorers came upon when they arrived in the New World, the first river that lead explorers into the continent's uncharted interior; the river that was the first line of defense in the American Revolution; the river of America's first writers, the river that inspired America's first great painters; the river millions of immigrants first encountered when they stepped off their boats onto their new land; the river whose deep-water port helped New York City become the nation's foremost financial center; the river that inspired America's first conservationists.

Here is a picture I took of the Hudson River at sunset, looking down from Dobb's Ferry toward New York City. I never cease to marvel at what a different sense of place one perceives of the Hudson River as it flows past Washington County, and the vastly different, expansive river that flows past New York City and into the sea. The Hudson River creates a much more intimate sense of place in this area, ideal for biking and other forms of recreation.


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