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.