We traced a squiggly line thru the hills being careful to give the fairgrounds wide berth. It was peace and quiet with a side of coolness that we wanted, not the hot sweaty mayhem of the fair at full throttle. Soon enough we were in downtown Shushan, turning down Adams Lane. This is the dirt path where Clarence Jackson used to lead his cows to pasture before he sold the property to the Georgi family in 1952. Since then a house was built, the grounds were landscaped and several generations of Georgi's came and went.
In addition to the Georgi family and the parks volunteers we may have the last glacier to thank for this spot. I've seen theories that the pre-glacial Battenkill flowed south thru what is now Cambridge and the Owl Kill valley, joining the Hoosic before emptying into the Hudson. Some 13,000 years ago, as the last ice sheet waned, a huge block of detached ice sat where Eldridge Swamp is today. This, along with massive amounts of outwash deposits (The Plains) were enough to divert the flow of the river north thru the valley where Shushan and the Georgi are located.
Here's a link to The Georgi's website.
Fair thee well?
It was getting late by the time we drove home from Shushan so I thought it would be safe to stay on Rt. 29 and drive past the fairgrounds. Wrong again.
We were treated to clouds of black, sooty smoke and an ear-splitting roar. This with our windows rolled up. Apparently some kind of evil beast of a tractor pull was in its death throes. Now I've spent my entire adult life and a good chunk of my childhood driving tractors. I've put my share of carbon into the air and probably irked my neighbors with early morning diesel noise. My defense is that it was done in the service of food production, not cheap thrills. Maybe it's a case of the pot calling the kettle black but I think we could do without all the motorized "agritainment" at the fair.
Cultural habits are often slow to change and fossil fuel based recreation is certainly part of our culture. But we know these fuels won't last forever and that burning them has consequences for climate, our health and even the world's political stability. For the foreseeable future, fossil fuels seem necessary to grow our food and provide other basic needs. But is it smart to burn them just for frivolous amusement? The fair showcases so many good things - the county's agricultural productivity, the mutually beneficial relationship between people and animals, the solid values rural kids grow up learning. Fair management (somewhat reluctantly) finally got rid of the confederate flag and its hurtful symbolism. Maybe roaring, guzzling, belching "monster" machines should be the next to go.
Tool or Toy?
Finally, here's a link to the song that inspired my title. It's not about Shushan's park and museum but rather an ode to some place down south where they grow peaches and peanuts. Enjoy Ray Charles singing Hoagy Carmichael's "Georgia on my Mind".