mudlake

What I Found At Mud Lake

by Fredrick Fabian Smythe, North City Bugle

mud-lake_1.jpgIt was my second assignment as ACE reporter of the North City Bugle and I was being dispatched to Mud Lake. Strange appearances had been reported that perplexed state authorities. Academics disagreed on the data, often confusing potential conclusions. This was a perfect situation to investigate and uncover the truth, an opportunity to construct a coherent picture of what was happening, allowing the public to draw their own conclusions.

My mother, the late Gleda Heyworth-Smythe, a trained Marine Oceanographer from Columbia University said, “Look at it this way: a lake is like an ocean, surrounded by land. Many are very deep, with currents, however they are more mysterious and often characterized by the land that surrounds their boundaries.” I thought it an interesting way to portray a body of water but mother always had a way with words, cutting to the core while creating even more mystery along the way.

hi-res.jpgThe problem that lay at the center of my investigation was the existence of many lakes, all with the same name. In New York State alone there are over 30 of these lakes scattered throughout its borders, all called Mud Lake. I tried to grasp all this information while sitting at the corner Starbucks in the West Village, off Seventh Avenue on a warm Summer’s night, gazing for meaning in the residue coffee grounds that lay at the bottom of my empty cup of Mocca Light Cappuchino with a half eaten piece of cherry pie, fork still lying at an angle.

I recollected how I used a random number table to choose 3 of the named Mud Lakes, a small sample to study. Published reports and photographs of each lake revealed that every one of them was surrounded by mud. Analysis of their moist samples did reveal variations in their level of Nitrogen and Carbon. High amounts of these two elements led to the first clue as I continued collecting my thoughts in my sketch book, in the same area steeped in the historic literary movement of Greenwich Village during the 1950’s and 60’s, while enjoying a cup of Earl Grey, extra hot, with a double chocolate chip cookie laying on the melmac plate served at my local Starbucks.

Increased amounts of C and N suggested these areas were used as campsites with the carbon produced by fire and the nitrogen by waste. However there were some lakes with a distinct inverse composition which led me to conclude they were highly populated by wildlife ritualistic marking their territory. My working hypothesis: Mud Lake had to be a place someone would have visited if only to substantiate the appearance of what I was sent to uncover.

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Research Material
*Mud Lake, Chautauqua County, New York. 42°21?15?N, 79°19?00?W
*Laurel Lake, also known as Mud Lake, Delaware County, New York. 42°05?37?N, 74°46?26?W
*Mud Lake, Delaware County, New York. 42°05?38?N, 74°46?28?W
*Mud Lake, Delaware County, New York. 42°26?56?N, 74°51?59?W
*Mud Lake, Delaware County, New York. 42°27?32?N, 74°48?24?W
*Mud Lake, Delaware County, New York. 42°28?31?N, 74°55?40?W
*Mud Pond, also known as Mud Lake, Franklin County, New York. 44°32?11?N, 74°05?48?W
*Mud Lake, Fulton County, New York. 43°05?17?N, 74°25?03?W
*Mud Lake, Fulton County, New York. 43°10?21?N, 74°31?38?W
*Mud Lake, Fulton County, New York. 43°12?46?N, 74°13?49?W
*Mud Lake, Fulton County, New York. 43°13?32?N, 74°22?00?W
*Mud Lake, Hamilton County, New York. 43°20?27?N, 74°27?08?W
*Mud Lake, Hamilton County, New York. 43°22?47?N, 74°31?15?W
*Mud Lake, Hamilton County, New York. 43°29?28?N, 74°29?48?W
*Mud Lake, Hamilton County, New York. 43°31?08?N, 74°25?47?W
*Mud Lake, Hamilton County, New York. 43°35?38?N, 74°36?39?W
*Mud Lake, Herkimer County, New York. 42°54?15?N, 74°54?05?W
*Mud Lake, Herkimer County, New York. 43°17?26?N, 74°47?49?W
*Mud Lake, Herkimer County, New York. 43°53?46?N, 74°58?09?W
*Clear Lake, also known as Mud Lake, Jefferson County, New York. 44°16?40?N, 75°49?35?W
*Mud Lake, Jefferson County, New York. 44°17?31?N, 75°48?37?W
*Mud Lake, Lewis County, New York. 43°28?57?N, 75°31?53?W
*Mud Lake, Onondaga County, New York. 43°10?51?N, 76°24?35?W
*Mud Lake, Putnam County, New York. 41°25?24?N, 73°50?35?W
*Mud Lake, Rensselaer County, New York. 42°37?10?N, 73°36?33?W
*Mud Lake, Schoharie County, New York. 42°35?57?N, 74°36?55?W
*Lamoka Lake, also known as Mud Lake, Schuyler County, New York. 42°24?23?N, 77°04?41?W
*Mud Lake, St. Lawrence County, New York. 44°22?11?N, 75°36?01?W
*Mud Lake, St. Lawrence County, New York. 44°30?15?N, 75°27?31?W
*Mud Lake, Steuben County, New York. 42°28?13?N, 77°33?43?W
*Mud Lake, Steuben County, New York. 42°29?30?N, 77°16?46?W
*Harrisburg Lake, also known as Mud Lake, Warren County, New York. 43°24?30?N, 74°04?48?W