Passing on lessons learned

C. Bernard McCartan is not someone you likely have heard of. The son of a Pennsylvania coal miner, McCartan made his living as a technical writer for DuPont and, with his wife Mary, raised ten children. McCartan loved the outdoors, including the Adirondacks, and instilled his passion in his kids.

Recently, one of his sons, Jack McCartan, sent me a poem his father wrote years ago about the spiritual value of the outdoors. It was addressed to “Jack and Tom,” then young boys.

A Canada goose.
A Canada goose.

Here’s a snippet:

I can teach you to walk

Over green forested  hills,

Along cool streams of water fresh,

Amongst spring’s host of flowers.

But I cannot teach you to enjoy

The anticipation of an empty sky,

When all the ducks and geese

Have to the southward made their flight

To defeat the rush of winter’s storms.

“My father passed away in 2009,” Jack wrote me. “Yet his love and respect for nature and the wilderness will be with me always.”

The message of the poem is timeless. Click the link below to read it in its entirety.

McCartan poem PDF

About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

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