A mile-long park runs along the Hudson River bank at Croton-on-Hudson, New York, where you can walk the path as dusk descends and see the sun set hazily, just for you.
The town took an underused industrial area and rehabbed it about ten years ago with the help of the Open Space Institute so that everyone who wants to came come down and praise the beauty of the wide, placid Hudson. Well, not always placid. It seems every small dog in Westchester County is being trotted along at that hour, yapping and sniffing.
The smell of flowers pervades the air.
Along the railroad tracks you’ll find the multiflora rose, which came to the U.S. in the late 19th century as rootstock for ornamental varieties and was then pressed into use as a “living fence” to corral livestock. Its lovely petals float on the air for just about two weeks every June, then it reverts to its less-beautiful identity as a sticker-bush. Other wild roses bloom here too, some with better manners.
Almost as fragrant as the white ones when you stick your nose into a bloom. And honeysuckle – when was the last time you sucked the fragrant dew from one of its blossoms? Put it on your to-do list for today.
Vivid spires come up, having materialized after our rains came, finally, and jump started all the plants.
And the wild iris, down by the shore, its proud head, its feet in the mud.
The great poet Louise Gluck writes in a poem named for a flower, “Snowdrops,” in her Pulitzer-winning collection The Wild Iris:
I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn’t expect
to waken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring—
afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy
in the raw wind of the new world.