When we were talking about “Tintern Abbey” in class, and Prof. Oerlemans asked if anyone had an experience like Wordsworth’s, I couldn’t come up with any on the spot. After class, however, I started to reflect on some of my life experiences when I’ve felt similar to how the speaker does in the poem. One such experience was on my AA orientation trip last year. On the third day of our trip, my group hiked to the top of Chimney Mountain. The peak has this amazing chimney-like formation of rocks that overlooks the Indian Lake region of the Adirondacks and its surrounding mountains. Our trip leaders asked us all to go to separate places on the rock formation and to write letters to our future selves. I found an amazing spot to sit that had a little ledge so that when I was sitting, I could dangle my feet over the edge. The drop was incredibly steep, so it almost felt as if I was suspended in the air. In that moment, I felt both so powerful and so powerless. It is one of those moments when you feel like you’re on top of the world, but then you realize just how big the world is, and it makes you realize just how small you are in comparison. I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever be able to find a place that makes me feel quite that way again. Those moments while my group members and I were all writing our letters were some of the coolest moments of the trip, and I think I can understand Wordsworth’s happiness and excitement (thinking about all the ! in the poem) to come back to a place that made him feel so free.
If you want to see what the peak of Chimney Mountain looks like, you can look at this site: https://www.outdoorproject.com/adventures/new-york/hikes/chimney-mountain
Here are some people at the top of Chimney Mountain doing what my group did, but you can’t see the full chimney formation in this photo. The source for the photo is: http://media.syracuse.com/post-standard/photo/2011/10/10142168-essay.jpg