We took a New Year’s weekend walk today. Three of us and the dog. The weather’s been gorgeous, upper thirties and clear.
This is an area toward the edge of town, the Updike Farmstead. Its always been farmland, as far back as I can remember. Wedged between the Delaware & Raritan Canal and a sharp turn in the Stony Brook (which flows south and then northeast), the land rolls a bit but is part of a larger swath of floodplain. For me this was old and new. We started at the Friends Meeting House, where I went to pre-school, walked through a bit of woods, and then followed along the edge of the fields. The dog was in heaven.
I had never walked into the fields before but today was an Andrew Wyeth kind of day. The fields beckoned and in we went. Mud, cornstalks, dried corncobs, the occasional patch of ice, a deer’s carcass picked clean. Off in the distance crows were busy making small talk and avoiding us.
We planned to make it over to the canal, follow the towpath, come back through the Institute Woods to the battlefield, and around to the meeting house. Best laid plains. We headed southwest when we should have gone northeast, Stony Brook corralling us in. It was too high to ford and the shoulderless bridge too unsafe to pass over. No mind. We headed back, away from the shelter of the trees on the field’s edge, picked a straight and true row in the mowed down corn and let it lead us home.
A nice way to begin the year.
July 10, 2009: Updike Redux