Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Walk in the Woods by the Bridge

Over two weeks ago, I took an early Sunday morning walk up in Washington Heights, by the George Washington Bridge and its maze of pathways and parkland, which snakes in, under and around the Bridge on the Manhattan side, and its many, twisting approach roads... This is not necessarily the plush parkland of Riverside Park, farther to the south, but a rougher, harsher environment, not manicured and at times so scarred, butchered and abused that the utterance above could be any person's plaintive, one-word prayer for the blasted, yet still-beautiful land around the foot of the "great, grey Bridge."

I'm attracted to even the ugliest of of interactions between the man-made and the earth, like this rusting drainage pipe (above). The entire edifice of the Bridge itself, spanning the Hudson River to link New York City with New Jersey and beyond, is secured by massive cables that stretch back from the Bridge on either side. On the Manhattan side, the cables are secured deep into the granite as far east of the Bridge itself, as Amsterdam Avenue... the massive engineering feat required to build the George Washington is seen, I think, most vividly where one can see how the rock was ripped, gored, torn apart, to secure those huge cables.

This is not always pretty terrain. But in my trek through the woods, I think I came across (above) what geologists call a "rill". A rill is a trickle of water on the land, or at least, it's a very slight and at times almost imperceptible flow of water, that usually joins up with others to form a stream, which then becomes a tributary, or proper river, before finally emptying into a bigger river, a mighty stream like the Hudson... Is that a rill, above? I'm honestly not sure... It was suddenly soggy, and there was, I think, water flowing...

And then there's the junk everywhere -- trash, bits of old cars, half-buried beds, wrappers, cans, everything you can imagine that someone in a big city might one day fling carelessly away, including the shock to the eyes of a bright, red bag (above).

The carpet of Fall leaves is pretty...(above).

I came across an abandoned American flag (above and below), which I had to dig out of the matted, leafy carpet with a stick.

Under an overpass, below: a purple umbrella in its final resting place.

Like a gherkin or a grenade... a green kid's toy...

Below, an early-morning Amtrak train roars past...

The sun was just rising, its rays lighting up New Jersey, as I was walking along.

A final hunk of junk, below: a shock absorber, I think.