Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Coming home

On my way driving home today from the Rabbinical Assembly's annual convention in Boston, I decided to take some time off from the drive to enjoy the spring day. The natural wonder that is the waterfall I captured here with my cameraphone is not in some isolated pastoral place, as you might think. Almost miraculously, its splendor appears out of the dense, urban grime -- and squalor, I am very sorry to say -- of Paterson, NJ.

Here, by these falls, the Passaic River finally ends its long course northward and at last finds a way through the wall that is the Watchtung Mountains to reverse course and head south, first to Newark Bay and finally to the Atlantic Ocean. It is called the Great Falls of the Passaic River. Here are some more pictures I took of it.

The stone of the sheer cliffs by which the river runs here reminds me of the great cliffs of the Palisades. As I was heading down the West Side Highway to the George Washington Bridge, today, I felt blessed that it was sunny and that it was early spring -- late enough in the season that the trees have budded enough that their beautiful green was everywhere in my sight, but still early enough that the trees by the road had not become that denseness of full summer green that would have blocked my view of the Palisades on the other side of the mighty Hudson River. . . . And, when crossing the bridge, I was able to get in the right lane on the upper deck and take in the view to the north as I passed. . . Ah, the mighty Hudson. You can always take my breath away. . . . It's something that people often don't realize about New York City -- that its physical setting (the cliffs, the hills, the islands, the rivers, the marshes, and, most of all, the harbor) is nothing short of spectacular. If a great city had not arisen there, it still would have been a place that people would have been sure to visit.

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