Detour Blessings: In Quest of a Towpath Walk

Towpath stroll, --though severely detoured--, brings natural gifts.


Patch readers who like walking the D&R Towpath above Mapleton Aqueduct already know what I discovered this evening -- "You can't get there from here." 

Mapleton Road, --consistently compromised by water and ice, potholes and ruts--, is now absolutely closed. Of course, 'they' don't advise you of this at the Barclay Square end of Mapleton.

Choosing not to be funneled out onto Route 1, I went back to my beloved Towpath near Eno Terra, alongside the small dam and Kingston Locktender's House.

Here and there, peaceful men were fishing in lowering light.

The Towpath itself was about as bad as Mapleton Road, the trail repeatedly blocked by enormous swathes of mud and/or puddles.  This new hip/leg can do a any number of wonderful physical things outdoors.  But it can't straddle puddles or mud.  Even though I tried to recite e e cumming's 'mud -uscious and puddle-wonderful' to myself as I sloshed along...

Red-winged blackbirds were oka-leeing on all sides.

A bird -- charcoal grey with a jet black cap--, who wasn't a mockingbird, sang over my head for a long time, with notes as clear as an oriole's. 

Here and there, white daisy fleabane lifted optimistic fringed heads, among soft mauve poufs of crown vetch.  Honeysuckle was rampant, catching and enhancing the lowering light.

There was no American bald eagle in the partly denuded deciduous tree by the dam, tonight.  But I had taken good long looks at one parent on a branch and the immature very vertical on the nest rim, on my compromised way to this hike.

Sunlight on Lake Carnegie was beyond diamonds.  The dazzle enlarged the lake somehow, stirring me as had late sun on Lake Michigan in childhood.

There weren't many other humans out there, what with the mud and the closed Aqueduct parking lot.  This made for a contemplative walk, -- evidently what I needed after a complex work week.  [Even though everyone insists I have a dream job, as Community Relations Associate at D&R Greenway Land Trust, it isn't easy, saving New Jersey!]

The culmination, even exclamation point, of tonight's Towpath sojourn was one great blue heron arrowing north with enormous determination.  He headed toward those unexpected mountains at the far end of the lake's vista, that indelible scene which crowned my first kayaking after the surgery, out on the lake at around this time.

Great determination is what negotiating all that mud required of me.  My Patch readers know it was worth it for that heron, 'our' miracle eagles, the mystery bird's liquid trills, and evening-spangled water.

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Joe R June 04, 2012 at 10:33 PM
I love seeing the herons and the eagles, they are so majestic and awe inspiring. Though the Canadian geese are as ubiquitous as robins they can also be inspiring in flight, sometimes incredible formations so high up in the sky, that they look like a string of pearls. One can also come across swans and egrets, sea gulls stealing the fish from the cormorants and gold finhces flitting in and out of the bushes and trees.
Carolyn Foote Edelmann June 05, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Joe, thank you for sharing enthusiasm for nature's creatures despite our living in the nation's most populous state. We are just so blessed to be able to come upon these inspiring wild ones virtually any time we set foot on the Towpath. Appreciatively, Carolyn


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