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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Waiting for winter

November 19, 1980

The river rose over night from snow or rain upstream – mysterious Lake Passaic so distant from Dundee Island here in Passaic, I don’t always know about events until they spring upon me.
The exposed cables and much of the river bottom are covered again, clotted by the brown water I know so well – shimmering with reflections of a very blue sky and the dark buildings that line both sides. Most brown is the high water tower that stands out against the sky, rusty tears dripping down all sides. It is a perpetual observer of the human fallow that goes on down here, its long years having seen much, but mum about it all.
Someone painted the old apartment house on the Dundee side, the rear porches exposed to view from where I stand on the Garfield side of the bridge. One porch is bright yellow and green, a stark contract to the browning world around it, although for a short time in spring and fall, it somehow blends in with the changing tree.
But now, its reflection danced on the surface of the water with the false hope of spring, when it’s winter that we wait for.
The factories and mills with their sooted sides are more suited for this dismal time of year, vast mills of dark brink with smoke stacks billowing black fumes into the air, huffing and puffing dragons who still manage to make their way in a world now devoid of fairytales.\
Their reflections in the water seem ominous to me and more appropriate to the mood and season that approaches, the snow up stream, the forecast of a deep chill will shortly suffer.
Even the church and youth center with pealing paint and exposed brick offers no relief, part of some old and vanquished hope whose reflection floats side by side with the favorites in the once more bloated river at my feet.

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