Monday, April 29, 2013
Today really is one of those rainy day Mondays everybody is always going on about, enough to quench the brief warm spell we had over the last few days – not scalding, but enough to singe the bones a little and make me remember what summer is all about.
I walked around the waterfront in Bayonne this morning, strolling out into the place here where nature defies all to declare itself independent and still powerful, egrets rising from the river top like ancient dinosaurs with me feeling as primitive as a cave man, glimpsing its pale shape against a pale sky in envy at its majesty – chilled to the bone by what it has to offer, knowing it will always be out of reach, a stark shape in the water, and a pale shape above with no common ground.
Sometimes, this is all we get, to watch life lift off from the surface of the water, the rain blurring our vision, and chilling our bones.
Nearer at hand, ducks mate, paddling through the shallow water to feed on the tiny fish the mudflats expose, their beauty disguising a terrible struggle for survival, we safe humans tend to miss, their eloquence and grace part of something more savage we do not see.
This place is too pretty and they colors too grand, making me miss the more honest conflict I used to see in the waters of the Passaic, where animals struggled against man’s interference, and yet somehow thrived.
I miss the walk along the river bank that this part of the river (it is actually the same river at this point but wide at the mouth of the bay) where I could look things in the eye and see their majesty and their pain, they glorious elevation and their sad demise. I once watched a fish rot over several days as nature sent its little army of maggots to devour it, a strange beauty of its own wrapped up in the way things are, although all my friends at the time thought I was nuts because I admired it.
Decay, demise, deterioration all part of a cycle of life that goes unappreciated as old makes way for new, young taking their place in the cycle of life, often at the expense of the old, with me a silent observer studying the outcome, slowly coming to realize that I’m part of the same cycle if only extended out over a number of years.
I met a 100 year old man on Saturday, who told me he had lived his long life free of the usual medical obstacles. He had no reason for it, no secret formula, not great scheme I might steal and use to take advantage of his good fortune. Luck or good genes, or some combination, puts one person on this path and others on another, and I come to places like this, watching nature at its most raw, trying to figure out, how which got onto which path, and I never can.
I must remain always a silent observer, watching the world go by