My Reach: A Hudson River Memoir

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Cornell University Press, Sep 15, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 240 pages

In this memoir of the Hudson River and of her family, Susan Fox Rogers writes from a fresh perspective: the seat of her kayak. Low in the water, she explores the bays and the larger estuary, riding the tides, marveling over sturgeons and eels, eagles and herons, and spotting the remains of the ice and cement industries. After years of dipping her paddle into the waters off the village of Tivoli, she came to know the rocks and tree limbs, currents and eddies, mansions and islands so well that she claimed that section of the river as her own: her reach. Woven into Rogers's intimate exploration of the river is the story of her life as a woman in the outdoors—rock climbing and hiking as well as kayaking.Rogers writes of the Hudson River with skill and vivacity. Her strong sense of place informs her engagement with a waterway that lured the early Dutch settlers, entranced nineteenth-century painters, and has been marked by decades of pollution. The river and the communities along its banks become partners in Rogers's life and vivid characters in her memoir. Her travels on the river range from short excursions to the Saugerties Lighthouse to a days-long journey from Tivoli to Tarrytown and a circumnavigation of Manhattan Island, while in memory she ventures as far as the Indiana Dunes and the French Pyrenees.In a fluid, engaging voice, My Reach mixes the genres of memoir, outdoor adventure, natural and unnatural history. Rogers's interest in the flora and fauna of the river is as keen as her insight into the people who live and travel along the waterway. She integrates moments of description and environmental context with her own process of grieving the recent deaths of both parents. The result is a book that not only moves the reader but also informs and entertains.

 

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Contents

1 What Lingers
1
2 My Reach
7
3 Swimming the Hudson
19
4 Courage
29
5 Home
51
6 A Life in a Boat
65
7 The Lost Dunes of Childhood
73
8 The Speed of Wind and Water
79
14 Fishing
139
15 Circling the City
145
16 Nubian Goats
157
17 Sturgeon Moon
163
18 Sitting by the River
169
19 Golden Club
179
20 Grave Sites
187
21 Summer Solstice
197

9 Im Glad You Are Here
91
10 The Long Loneliness
97
11 Solace
105
12 Learning the River
115
13 If You Are Lucky
127
22 Love for a River
209
Books Consulted
217
Acknowledgments
221
Maps of the Hudson River
224
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Susan Fox Rogers is Visiting Associate Professor of Writing at Bard College. She is the editor of twelve books, including most recently Antarctica: Life on the Ice and Going Alone: Women's Adventures in the Wild.

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