NJWILDBEAUTY readers know that my favorite time to be almost anywhere is when most people aren’t. Give me “too early”, “too late” and especially “out-of-season”! Except, that –especially for the Intrepids — there is no “out of season” in New Jersey!
DECEMBER STILL LIFE — BARNEGAT BAY — REED’S ROAD — ISLAND BEACH
Intrepids Jeanette Hooban and Bill Rawlyk and I met fine-art photographers Angela Previte and her husband, Bob, and the redoubtable Ray Yeager, last Sunday, for an extended Barnegat Bayside breakfast. Fellowship reigned supreme, until our photographers “had promises to keep”
Jeanette, Bill and I set off to bird the day away. Indeed, it was December, but there’s no better time to stroll Reed’s Road, just around the corner from Seaside Park, barely into Island Beach State Park.
In no time, we were deep in a forested glade, silvery sugar sand underfoot, seemingly new moss burgeoning on both sides. Beach heather, Hudsonia tomentosa, and lichens vied for our attention.
There is nothing silkier than the normal, natural sand that forms Reed’s Road, nothing more alluring to the foot(e). Although well into the twelfth month, autumn’s palette erupted first on one side, then another.
There is nothing more irresistible than the tranquillity of Barnegat Bay, like an enormous silver platter, beckoning, beckoning to the west.
There wasn’t a breath of wind. Waves were delicate, hushed. Black sparkling swathes of garnet particles beckoned, underfoot and underwater. Off in the far distance, we could just peek at (but not photograph) Barnegat Light.
We could have found cedar waxwing and robin flocks, as many have on this trek in previous high winter walks. Or pine warblers in early spring. Or stately swans in other Novembers. This day, our bird stars were the merry bobbing buffleheads, making us laugh out loud in delight.
Spotting Buffleheads from Reed’s Road Trail
The maddening part of that excursion was that some officials in our misguided 21st Century equate slashing with trail maintenance. We spent a long time picking up their debris, mourning over literal ‘greenstick fractures’ in towering native shrubs of all species on all sides, apologizing to nature yet again for man’s depredations. We wanted to go straight to the State House with our fury, were it not that politicians have other issues on their minds right now. Obviously shrubs’ and trees’ health, shrub and tree rights are very low on Trenton ‘totem poles’ of interest and respect. Citizens’ rights don’t seem very far ahead in terms of honor. WE THE PEOPLE have a right to our native species’ being protected everywhere, and MOST ESPECIALLY IN OUR STATE PARKS!
NJWILDBEAUTY readers have ‘heard’ me go on and on about reading “This Changes Evetything”, by today’s Rachel Carson: Naomi Klien. She’s won the Sydney Peace Award from Australia, comparable to the Nobel — for her courageous expose of the multi-national, mega-funded organizations devoted to climate change denial.
Central to the paradigm of these planet-destroyers is downright hatred of Nature, a vicious delight (obediently promulgated by the Weather Channel) in blaming every storm on so-called Mother Nature, terming even Hurricane Sandy – the anthropogenic disaster of all time — “Mother Nature’s Revenge.” Face it, watchers and listeners. These terms ascribing rage and revenge to the magnificent nature that surrounds us are utilized to justify destruction. Get it!
NATURE IS EDEN. WE ARE DRIVING OURSELVES OUT OF IT!
Meanwhile, back in Paradise:
Reed’s Road is home to proprietary pair of exquisite foxes, and sundry nocturnal raccoons. Many the track did we follow.
The animals have always known to ‘leave only footprints’.
Silence surrounded us, underfoot, overhead and out on the bay. Beauty was everywhere, that had never been altered (until this brutal pruning session). I am fond of saying that Island Beach has not been built on since initial development failed in the 1930’s Depression, and is pruned only by wind, sand and storms. I’ll pretend that’s still true…
REMEMBER, we can stroll these impeccable, usually unspoiled trails because this land has been preserved. NEVER HAS IT BEEN MORE URGENT TO SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL AND NATIONAL LAND TRUSTS.
See to it, with your memberships, that every possible wild inch of our sacred country is preserved in perpetuity, no matter who wields what power.
“This land is your land. This land is my land…” — but only due to our absolute constant courageous vigilance.
While you can, get out into the Parks of our beleaguered state, let their unspoilt magnificence seep into and restore your souls.