The Ten Mile Meadow Project:
A Conservatory of Land and Language
Ten Mile Creek originates in Mysotis Lake in the township of Rensselaerville in southwestern Albany County. It flows down through the lush hamlet of Medusa, joining Eight Mile Creek (from Westerlo) in thick forest near the end of South Lane just north of the Greene County line, thence into Catskill Creek and eastward for roughly 25 miles to the Hudson River.
Ten Mile Meadow consists of 100 acres of rolling grass- and woodland bordered on the east by the tree-lined creek and a favorite swimming hole used freely by residents until the early 80's with the blessing of then owner, dairy farmer Ed Waldron. Many still refer to it as Waldron's Farm. Though the farmhouse opposite was sold off, two barns still stand near the road, which leads a few paces down the hill to the bridge on Main Street with its general store and post office, firehouse and Medusa Church.
Ten Mile Creek, waterfall under Main Street bridge, Medusa.
Photo: © 2001 Big City Lit
The Ten Mile Meadow Project is dedicated to the acquisition and preservation of this land and water resource for local environmental and recreational benefit, and to the enhancement of community literary and artistic services, experience, and appreciation.
Medusa is home to about 150 families. A few residents are still grain, produce or dairy farmers, though most are engaged in other businesses--guest house or culinary, specialty shops, light industry--or practice a trade or profession, such as carpentry or teaching.
The hamlets of Preston Hollow and Potter Hollow, both as watermarked and mountainviewed as Medusa, comprise the rest of Rensselaerville Township, itself part of a larger trans-county concentric, east to Westerlo, north to Middleburgh, south to Durham and Greenville, the central site of the most extensive shopping, banking, schools, and similar services in the area.
The community is stable, cohesive, and relatively prosperous, owing in large part to its natural beauty, which appeals to dual homeowners, sportsmen, vacationers, and retirees. Its active tourist board and arts council have won competitive state awards. It has readers and advertisers enough to support three weekly newspapers.
Those papers carried recent reports of a controversial proposed power installation in an historic river town 20 minutes east of Medusa, and of a cellular tower closer by. Whether such development is greeted as economic expansion or as economic encroachment depends on the individual mindset.
The Meadow could accommodate twenty houses on 5-acre lots: twice the number that make up all of Main Street now. Economic expansion or encroachment?
The South 20. Photo: © 2001 Big City Lit
The Meadow is on the market now. Its owners, successors to Ed Waldron, live outside the community. They have held it for many years. Long enough, they believe.
Rockewn Ten Mile Creek is loud. All that tumbling. Under the bridge, a waterfall. It roars in Spring. Audible up and down Main. And all along the east boundary of The Meadow. It takes about an hour to wade Ten Mile downstream from the bridge to its meeting point with Eight Mile, another hour upstream to its bridge near the cemetery. The deer were surprised to see a hiker.
The Meadow could stand some improvement. It was mowed lately--maybe to show off its topography, its stone walls, its natural amphitheatre. Some more wildflowers would be decorative, a few handfuls of seeds from the New England Wildflower Conservancy. A marker here or there, so children could learn all the names. A skymap too, for the nights lying on one's back, eyes on the layered stars.
For the barns, a broom, then a poetry library, printing press and book bindery. Old newspapers on their way to the town transfer station, diverted and recycled.
Yeats set to music against the Ben Bulben-like outline of a Catskill rise. Hamlet's father appearing out of the mists of the moor. A kid's fish story--exaggerated, but somehow still (preciously) believable.
(Medusa, July 2001)
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We know you continually receive requests from arts, health, and other charitable organizations. No one can respond to every appeal. Nor do we expect to rely solely on individual contributions to realize this project. We are diligently prospecting among corporate, foundation, and government sponsors, expecting that they will bear the primary burden, though individual, natural persons enjoy the primary benefit.
Typically, you would be asked to select a monetary level of membership, offered benefits and privileges, designated a "friend," an "associate," a "patron." We've dispensed with all classifications but one: Be kind if you will, generous if you can.
And, by all means, indicate to us your preference for how your contribution should be used, i.e., whether for ___the acquisition, ___ the wildflower garden, ___ the book bindery or for ___ the literary and performance programs.
We ask that checks or money orders be issued in the name of The Author's Watermark, Inc., with the memo notation: "Ten Mile Meadow Project."
The Author's Watermark, Inc.
Box 1, Medusa NY 12120
(A not-for-profit corporation duly formed