Saturday, August 26, 2006

Opus 40 and Bear Mountain

We pulled out of the drieveway of 56 Voorhees Place at about 10:25 a.m. Destination: Opus 40 in Suagerties, N.Y. Opus 40 is Harvey Fite’s massive masterpiece of stone work. Some would say it’s an environmental sculpture, but it looks to me more like a really cool patio. Fite died after working 37 years to fasten the stones in place with simple, old-fashioned tools. He intended to work 40 years, hence the name.

Up the New York Throughway we drove for two hours and change. When we arrived, the rain was falling just enough to make the outdoors unpleasant. We made friends with Patrick the teenager in the gift shop, who showed us a seven-minute movie and advised Theo to be careful. Theo, in his shy mode, wouldn’t talk to him.

It was still raining when the video ended, so we took a walk through the museum, which looked like an old dusty attic. In fact, it was an old dusty attic. The rain continued. We decided to brave the elements and walk among the stones.

The kids loved it, even though the blue stone posed a double threat—it was a trip hazard, as well as a slip hazard—and the slopes weren’t easy to navigate (especially when carrying an umbrella, a purse and a baby). The inclement weather prevented us from achieving the goal of our trip: a picnic at Opus 40. Still, the entire Clark family was enriched by the experience. Theo, especially, was amazed by the steps and slopes and pools of the place.

Plus, we had the whole wet place to ourselves.

On the way home, blessed with more pleasant weather, we drove into Bear Mountain State Park, found a bench by the lake with a view of the mountain and enjoyed our picnic lunch. The ham sandwich was a particular success. Natalie and Theo were thrilled by the birds, who swooped down for crumbs of bread and cheese – a thrilling spectacle for the peanut gallery.

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