Peaceful Flag on Hunt House Grounds, Pole Farm
One of the fascinating aspects of this Pole Farm, that is so near to my new dwelling in bucolic Lawrenceville, is that there are many entries. Each entry holds out its own bouquet of impressions and memories.
One leads to the overlook platform where we will watch short-eared owls in the depths of winter, ghosting out of surrounding stands of dense woods.
One very practical one leads over a series of hefty bridges, which will be very helpful after troubling rains. They are not bridges over water, rather over land that can become waterlogged. So one will be able to march without sloshing, when the mood strikes.
My latest discovery is the Hunt House entry, off Blackwell Road. A generous parking lot awaits, which is where this flag dangles, in the absence of wind. I’m starting with this because it’s the Fourth of July. I spent the morning in the Abbott Marshlands, where there weren’t any flags, and barely any birds, but much beauty.
My friend, Anne Zeman, was there to take pictures for the Voices for the Marsh Photo Competition. If one googles http://www.marsh-friends.org, one will learn what scenes and what processes are required for entry.
As we left each other, after hours of exploration, we reminded one another that this day is a celebration of freedom from tyranny. Somehow, countless forms of tyranny are overtaking everyday Americans.
Somehow, those precious freedoms for which our Founding Fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor (and some lost all of these factors to bring us liberty) are being eroded at every turn.
We must never lose sight of the sacrifices and the brilliance of our Founding Fathers. Even more important, we must not betray the liberty they won for themselves, our country, and ourselves.
The Hunt House is venerable — all three segments of which having been built in the 1700s. It’s a beauty to see from the outside. I do not know if everyday people are permitted entry in business hours. As I understand it, Hunt houses the park headquarters. If all their employees are as gracious and enthusiastic as Ranger Kevin (met at the red barn entry of Pole Farm), I assume visitors are welcome at appropriate times.
Restored Hunt House, in late light, Pole Farm
A handsome picnic area rests to the left of this scene, very appealing, although too close to the parking lot for my taste.
Picnic Area near Hunt House, Pole Farm
The same broad, strong, comfortable, quiet trails that make other entries so appealing, lead away from the house and its barn and the picnic area.
Hunt House Barn Shadows, Pole Farm
These trails lead in and around essential American scenes. And yet, soon, one is transported into the landscapes made famous by Constable of Britain.
Constable Scene, Hunt House Trails, Pole Farm
As usual, guests are relishing this regional treasure, many on foot and some on bicycles.
Cyclists, Hunt House Trails, Pole Farm
On all the trails, all the people I meet are so cheerful, open and welcoming, themselves. It’s a very American experience, these parks where solitude is a norm and silence a blessing. Where birds thrive and trees burgeon and deer safely raise young.
English Countryside near Hunt House Trails, Pole Farm
Yet, there is this sense of stepping into a Constable, over and over again.
Lakeside Picnic Grove, Hunt House Trails, Pole Farm
I’m hoping some savvy family is celebrating the Fourth in this grove today.
Long Shadows, Picnic Grove, Hunt House Trails, Pole Farm
Whoever they are, I hope they speak of freedom.
Wherever you are, I hope you remember true freedom, the sacrifices made to secure it in perpetuity, the powerful and brilliant and courageous men and women (don’t forget Abigail Adams and Annis Stockton and Martha Washington, who joined her husband on battleground after battleground) who birthed this land.
This Mercer County Park is an example of the best of America. Use it.
And continually do everything you can to preserve New Jersey’s wild unfettered places.