Hannah Jiang

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🗺 Creative Date – Bear Mountain and West Point

As someone who grew up in the north of China, fall is not my favorite season. All the plants and leaves are dying, animals are hibernating, getting ready for the bitterly cold winter. In eastern culture, we use fall as a symbol of mature, as well as fading and wilting. But there is one thing I love about fall, the foliage. Before the leaves fall to the ground, they turn yellow or red, mixed with a little green in it, like an oil paint art made by nature. Every year, to get myself out of the feeling of depression, also to ignore the flaws and appreciate the season, I always plan a trip to see the leaves. The picture below is from the fall of 2015, in Irkutsk, Russia.

Being in graduate school, I’m not able to go on a faraway trip. So this year, after doing some research about foliage viewing, my boyfriend and I decided to go to Bear Mountain which is about 2 hours drive from New York City.

It was beautiful, all the mountains were covered by trees seamlessly. The bridges were partly hidden by the trees too, so in far away, it looked like all the cars were coming from the forest and going into another forest. The middle of October was still warm in New York, so the leaves were mostly dark green.

Hudson River looked very different from the part around Manhattan, in Bear Mountain, it was more blue and peaceful. Walking along the river, it calmed me down.

Walking around the area, we saw a sign saying that West Point Academy was only a few miles away. I’ve heard the name so many times but never known it was located in New York. We decided to go to see this world-famous historical campus. Luckily my boyfriend has a military ID so we got in without any trouble. We spent a lot of time in Michie Stadium, sitting on the empty seats silently, watching a couple of kids running around playing football.

I always enjoy being in a historical site or a museum, thinking about what happened in the past, who had stood at the point I’m standing at, what their feeling was. It’s like a communication between me and the people in history, like a spiritual time traveling. Weirdly I felt the connection at West Point too, in a foreign country with a history that I’m not familiar with, thinking about how American Army took over this land 200 years ago from the British, their laughter and tears… and me as a foreign tourist, sitting here 200 years later, admiring all the people who had fought for the freedom of the country.

For the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oct 20, 2017