It was raining as I drove along the western edge of the Adirondack Park recently. It was around the time when my thoughts turned to how much weight the Yankee pitcher, C. C. Sabathia, had lost during the off-season. Or, perhaps I was reflecting on Colbert replacing Letterman on the Late Show. More than likely, however, I was keeping an eye out for a public restroom (or a nicely protected tree). I had just finished a large coffee purchased in Tupper Lake. Let’s just say that my mind was covering a lot of ground that afternoon, like Kudzu in Virginia.
That’s when I was jolted back to real-time by the sight of an unusually large rock, standing upright beside the road. The remains of the Earth Science teacher in me kicked in. I made an about turn in a muddy driveway and went back. Mariam snapped a photo of the rock at my request. I read the historical sign. Not all large rocks warrant a historical marker. I was hoping there would be some significant story to this rock. I was hoping the sign wouldn’t say “Large Rock”. It didn’t. instead, I found out that I had stumbled across a landmark that dates back hundreds of years.
Actually, the rock itself dates back thousands of years. It’s a glacial erratic…a remnant of the Ice Age. The rock had gotten a free ride from somewhere to the north and was left behind when the Great Thaw came and the ice receded. That would be approximately 15,000 years ago (or, about six years ago if you’re a Creationist and don’t quite get on with the “Long View” of things).
The rock was used by the First People, the Native Americans, as a marker in their travels. Later, when roads replaced footpaths, the rock also served as a landmark for the settlers, loggers, miners and woodsmen approaching the North Woods.
It became known as “Sunday Rock”. Why, you may ask, was that name given to a stone? No one, it seems, has the final answer. But, in general, it was said that beyond the rock, in the woods, there were “No Sundays” and, by extension, no holidays (and very little law).
Life past the rock was carefree and few actions and pursuits were restricted. Camps flourished and the freedom of the trails, brooks, mountains and fields reigned. One could compare it to the life beyond the Mississippi River in the early 1880’s. The law took time to catch up to the real pioneers and backwoodsmen.
I believe that in everyone’s life, there is a Sunday Rock. Something we see in our view that beckons and reminds us of our goal. A lake, cabin, mountain, tree or a bend in the trail we are walking.
Or a rock.
[Winter photo source: Town of Colton]