Celebrating the old man of Woodchuck Lodge

Tomorrow afternoon from noon to 4pm, Roxbury celebrates its native son, the naturalist John Burroughs, with music and storytelling on the porch of his former home, Woodchuck Lodge

A June shindig at Woodchuck Lodge is an annual tradition, but this year, there's an extra treat: Purple Mountain Press, which publishes books on local history, is reprinting Burroughs's 1910 classic essay collection, In The Catskills. The new centennial edition -- which includes 24 original photographs by Clifton Johnson from the 1910 edition -- goes on sale tomorrow, and copies will be on hand for the festivities at Woodchuck Lodge. "Some People Of The Catskills": A photograph by Clifton Johnson from the 1910 book."Some People Of The Catskills": A photograph by Clifton Johnson from the 1910 book.

Burroughs, a prominent conservationist who counted Teddy Roosevelt and Walt Whitman among his close friends, wrote prolifically about his native Catskills. Here he is on the raptures of a Catskills trout stream:

I am sure I run no risk of overpraising the charm and attractiveness of a well-fed trout stream, every drop of water in it as bright and pure as if the nymphs had brought it all the way from its source in crystal goblets, and as cool as if it had been hatched beneath a glacier. When the heated and soiled and jaded refugee from the city first sees one, he feels as if he would like to turn it into his bosom and let it flow through him a few hours, it suggests such healing freshness and newness. How his roily thoughts would run clear; how the sediment would go downstream! Could he ever have an impure or an unwholesome wish afterward? The next best thing he can do is to tramp along its banks and surrender himself to its influence. If he reads it intently enough, he will, in a measure, be taking it into his mind and heart, and experiencing its salutary ministrations.

Photo of Woodchuck Lodge by Flickr user Catskills_Grrl. Posted under a Creative Commons license.