May 27, 1980
An aqua sky glows with the rising light this morning, tainted only by trails of long thin clouds. The stark tan towers of Passaic mills stand tall on the far shore, remembrances of my uncles’ war time stories when they used to wet old newspapers so they might weigh more and bring home more money so the family could eat.
Thirty five years after the fact that towers glow in the sunlight as if new, painting by the cool air and the morning, and some need in me I can’t yet explain. Even the waste the factories dump into the river seems clean and wholesome today, though neither is true. It is an illusion created by mood and moving water, and my imagination.
I ache for renewal as cool air swirls around me after my jog up from Passaic Street and I pause to sip coffee as the new day begins.
Hints of winter still linger at moments like these, even though Spring has fully embraced the landscape with green and the fragrant scene of pine and cherry blossom.
The leaf-heavy trees lean across the water here, bought of light green tears nearly touching the surface in places – water racing over stones and through gaps with a loud, persistent gurgle that makes traffic up the bank from me seem tame.
The rush even cracks twigs, carrying bit of the fallen down stream.
The whole surface is smeared with colors of this excited movement, a smeared impressionism no painter can fully copy, yellow, green, tan and crimson rippling everywhere especially at the most excited river’s center where the reflected towers shift shape and add a more somber element to this amazing picture.
I can’t get close enough to see my own reflection and what odd part I play in this collage, but I feel part of it, and know I have been invited to separate myself from the moan and groan of abused shock absorbers over the bridge, and to resist becoming one of the mass of humanity leaning on car horns to keep from being late for work.
Yet these terrible things also leave their mark on the water, each rattle over the bridge sending small shock waves across the surface from the foot of the bridge, repainting the picture still again into something other than what it might have been, repainting me because I know in the end I have to leave this world for the more imitating one above, less frustrated for being here perhaps, but no less trapped.