Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Finger Lakes Folklore

There are many stories/myths as to how the Finger Lakes of New York State came to be.     I particularly like the old Indian story that when God create the world, He rested on the seventh day and placed his hand on what would become the Finger Lakes.   His handprint became one of the most beautiful lands ever created.

Of course, the geologist tells us a different story.  There are actually eleven finger-shaped lakes in upper New York State that were formed when the glaciers receded at the end of the last ice age.  They are: Otisco Lake, Skaneateles Lake, Owasco Lake, Cayuga Lake, Seneca Lake, Keuka Lake, Canandaigua Lake, Honeoye Lake, Canadice Lake, Hemlock Lake and Conesus Lake.   This area also has an abundance of fantastic gorges and majestic waterfalls that were also created at the same time.

Each lake is unique and is named from an Native American word.   Honeoye Lake  ("Finger Lying") is the shallowest.  Seneca Lake ("Stoney Place") is the deepest and widest, and Cayuga Lake ("Boat Landing") is the longest.  Our neighbor Keuka Lake (“Canoe Landing”) is also called the “Crooked Lake” because of its “Y” shape.

I have another story that I like to tell of someone who was traveling around the country (now on the west coast) and stopped in a church to ask for a phone to talk to God.  The preacher told him that it would be a long distance call and would cost $200 a minute.   He found this curious and stopped again at a church when he was in the mid-west, where he asked to use the phone to again talk to God.  He was then told that it would cost $125 a minute.   Eventually he found a church in the Finger Lakes region (just down the road from us), and again asked to use the phone to talk to God.  He was very happy to hear that this phone call was a local call and toll free.  :-)

So… now you know how special it is in the Finger Lakes area.

- Mary