Haunted by Waters: Walktober 2016

Monday Morning Musings:

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.”
–Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories



It was a mixed-up crazy day,

an autumn day that thought it was summer.

It was a day meant for outdoor dining,

we chose a restaurant at a river park.


The park also had a personality disorder,

an urban park, but around a river

peaceful and serene by the water,

traffic whooshing by on the other side.


But sitting on the terrace,

we didn’t hear the cars

we heard only the music playing from the speakers,

innocuous, adult contemporary,

loud enough to notice, but not too loud.

Our friendly server, Emily,

brought us food and drinks

I even had a glass of red wine,

a California Cabernet,

the ruby red color,

echoed the color of the changing leaves.

We ate and talked,

shaded by an umbrella,

but drinking in the sunlight with our meals,

savoring both to remember

in the cold months to come.


We took a walk after lunch,

truthfully, not that much of a walk,

I thought there would be nature trails,

But it didn’t matter

because behind the restaurant

my husband said, “Look at the heron.”

and then I saw there was more than one.




We walked a loop,

Veterans’ Island,

and we watched the birds,

I was fascinated by these black—what are they?

Some type of geese?

They flew together into the water,

a group in water and air

and flapped their wings loudly


We saw a turtle hitchhiking on a branch,

floating in the water


Without a path, we walked across the grass

stopping sometimes to look at the river,



Then we had to walk on the sidewalk by the street

and around construction sites

where a weed bloomed amidst the rusty steel

hope and determination


We saw a Holocaust monument


Areas of manicured park


And a forked tree by a picnic table


But still the river beyond,

ancient and knowing.


I think of how life was centuries ago,

when a river ran through it,

lifeblood of a settlement,

thoughts run through my head

neural pathways, like a river.


I am mesmerized by water, rivers, ponds, lakes, and oceans,

ensorcelled by the sparkles, the drops, the spray

the creatures that live in and around it

and that fly overheard,

I find the words hidden under rocks in my head–

I remember going to the pool when I was a child,

going to a lake as a young married woman,

I remember taking my young daughters to a pool,

and to the ocean,

memories that swim together, floating in my mind

I am enchanted

I am haunted by waters.



This post is also my  Walktober. offering for Robin of Breezes at  Dawn. Visit her blog with its beautiful photos of nature and wildlife and more.

Last year, my Walktober offering also involved a walk around water, Wissahickon Creek after lunch at Valley Green Inn.

In this post, I described our meal at Cooper House , and we walked around Cooper River Park in Pennsauken, NJ.


24 thoughts on “Haunted by Waters: Walktober 2016

  1. For years, I’ve thought of life as a river. I’m sure that comes from living within a half-mile of the Niagara for so many years, and fishing, swimming, boating, scuba diving and kayaking there. There were many times when I would sit on the shore and write. I don’t have that urge here, on the muddy Missouri, but I still enjoy kayaking on the smaller streams (I’m headed out in a few minutes).
    For an impromptu walk, you had some nice sights.

  2. I love the variety in your Monday meanderings both in the experience and here in the recollection. Most startling line: The park also had a personality disorder . . . 🙂

    Fortunately I like lines that startle, arrest attention.

    • Thanks, Marian. I’m glad you liked it.
      That’s how I felt about the park–standing by the herons and looking at the river, it was all beautiful nature, but looking the other way, was constant traffic.

    • Thank you, Susan. On the day of that walk, it was in the 80s. Crazy! Then over the weekend it was cold and rainy. Today though is beautiful. There are more fall-colored leaves, and the temperature is the 60s.

  3. Beautiful photos and beautiful images and the metaphor and reality of the river running through it all. Sometimes I imagine what it was like when the river was the magnet of civilization. so fascinating. We have become so blase to rivers.
    Of course, not in Phoenix where any wash or canyon or gully can become a temporary river within 5 minutes–sort of a 15 minutes of fame thing.

  4. I don’t know why I was surprised at the end when you said you were in Pennsauken, NJ. Your pictures pulled me right out of the urban environment even though I was warned with your words (and love that dichotomy — have used it myself in my photos — and also loved how you described it as “The park also had a personality disorder”). Plus, I am from NJ and grew only about 10 miles as the crow flies from Pennsauken. It’s a longer trip in a car since I’m not a crow. I was also excited to see an egret (the big white bird — or is it the lighting make it look white?).

    I am haunted by waters, too, and although I don’t necessarily take these things (too) seriously, I once had an astrology chart done and it was mentioned that I would live a good life as long as I lived near the water.

    Thank you, Merril, for joining Walktober. I am trying to come up with new ways to tell you how much I enjoy your writing, but words are once again failing me. ❤

    • Thank you very much for your sweet comment, Robin!
      That’s funny that you lived so close to the park. Were you ever there? I guess the restaurant was Pennsauken, but part of the park was Cherry Hill. It was a white bird. I wasn’t sure if it was an egret or a heron. I looked it up, and discovered that egrets are a type of heron, so I just went with that. I couldn’t quite figure out what the black birds on the river were though.
      That’s funny about the astrology chart and where you live now!

  5. The lines “I was fascinated by these black—what are they? / Some type of geese?” jumped out at me…part of that probably has something to do with the fact that i just don’t know the names of so many things…of trees, shrubs, flowers, animals and birds…maybe i can tell the difference between a hawk and a handsaw, but not between a hawk and a falcon…but the lines also splendidly illustrate just how much distraction (in a good way) the world offers us even as we just sit down to eat…

  6. Pingback: Walktober wanderings – breezes at dawn

  7. I grew up along the Ohio River that was part of my life every day … so in some way, you have delivered a flashback for me. I definitely noted your pre-walk routine to get you ready for the walk. 😉 Your words and style also provided much ease for the walk … thanks for talking me along.

  8. Pingback: Haunted by Waters: Walktober 2016 — Yesterday and today: Merril’s historical musings – Alpha-Omega-Affiliate

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.