This Too Shall Pass

img_4010Spring has been a bit cooler than usual in my part of the world (northern New Jersey, USA). We’ve been in lock down mode since the end of March or so. Schools, eat-in restaurants, sports arenas, movie theaters, most non-essential businesses have been shutdown. Through the month of April, these restrictions have tightened. People stayed in for the most part. The roads were free of traffic. And apparently, the spread of the virus slowed. We have attained the “flattening of the curve”. With success comes the inevitable hope to see the reward. The weather finally turned sunny and warm. As if the stars all aligned, the governor reopened reopened parks and trails just in time for the people to take those first steps back outside.

As for myself, I took a hike in Rockefeller State Park, which used to be part of a vast estate owned by the wealthy family of that name. And by wealthy, I mean it’s estimated they were the wealthiest people who ever walked God’s green earth. They owned Standard Oil and controlled Chase Bank. These were rich folk. They donated nearly 1800 acres in the early 1980’s. The park abuts land that is still used by the Rockefellers and is open to the public as well. One of the ways the family rewarded themselves was this property about 20 miles north of Manhattan, nestled comfortably on the east bank of the wide Hudson River in Westchester County, New York.

I crossed the river to the other side, traveled a few miles north through Tarrytown and into Sleepy Hollow. Washington Irving once wrote about a headless horseman who haunted these parts. As for me, I saw no sign of that famous equestrian. Walked myself down a trail to a bench by the river. There were a  few sailboats out in the middle of the river tacking and tilting to such a degree, I thought for sure they would flip, but they never did. The river must be at least a mile wide there. One can almost imagine the far bank as it must’ve been 300 years ago or more, when the first white people hacked out their homesteads and the last of the Mohicans and Lenape watched their world disappearing. One can only imagine the fear and uncertainty they felt as winter’s cold fingers withdrew and they stepped into the spring’s first warm days, the trees green with new growth. Time marches past these doomed Indians and authors and wealthy men. I leave my footsteps here too in this time of pandemic.

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