Matthew and I visited the ancient and the brand new at the same time, Saturday July 24, 2021 when we summited* Monument Mountain on the northern outskirts of Great Barrington, MA. With a contour as identifiable as Mount Greylock’s, Monument Mountain is about as ancient a thing as you’ll find in the broader neighborhood of the Berkshires. (*At my age, to ascend higher than a few flights of stairs, without a nap break, constitutes a summiting.)
And now it’s own most distinguishing characteristic, which was called Squaw Peak for at least a century and a half, has been re-branded as Peeskawso Peak, in a token nod of apology to the Mohican people, who are due much more from the descendants of the Williams family that dispossed them of so much of their land and forced their emigration to Wisconsin. (Yes, same Williams as set up the town and college).
When I got wind of the re-branding, I wrote this poem, to replace this one.
Come along William Culllen Bryant,
let us beckon Melville, Hawthorne to convene,
along with Umpachanee and Konkapot – all the best
Shall meet at Monument Mountain, and follow
Mohican Monument Trail, through the seasons
of the soul, to Peeskawso* Peak, and there to rest.
*Mohican for “virtuous woman.”
Read “Monument Mountain,”, by William Culllen Bryant.