Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Monday, December 7, 2009

Valley Mist

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: The gentle roll of the land in this photo might suggest a broad plain, but the head of cool steam that's blowing off has risen from unseen valleys. This is the top of Winchell Mountain, a fertile plateau about a half mile across. It's named for James Winchell who as a young man in 1760 began the first farm here, and for his descendants who cultivated the land for three generations after. In addition to farmers, his descendants thrived and included scientists, lawyers, carpenters, ministers, teachers, engineers and a university chancellor. The land is farmed today by a family whose roots in the area are at least as old.

Winchell Mountain is an excellent spot to learn how morning happens and to watch the vapors as they cloud and drift and vanish. Off stage left I can look eastward, beyond corn fields, deep into Connecticut. If I walk right and look where the hill saddles, and the cow's graze, I can look west above a patchwork of hills, and beyond where the Hudson River must be, to the towering, shadowy Catskills. That's a long trajectory for the sun to shine its beam.

Even on mornings when the top of Winchell Mountain is in cloud, I've learned to wait and catch the drama as the cloud curtain lifts. This is a grand spot from which to collect morning.
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NOTE: This one needs to be seen approaching full-screen.