A cold walk among mysteries

is probably the best cold walk of all. The Old Croton Aqueduct today was a hospitable place for runners as well as musers.

It was built underneath this trail between 1837 and 1842 by a group of largely Italian stone masons so that New York City would get clean water from up north. When the water first gushed from the taps in New York, there were fireworks. The Aqueduct lives on as a beautiful corridor to nowhere. If you live in Westchester County “on the Aqueduct” that is about as cool as it gets. After all, vaulted magical chambers lie below. Walkers get to snoop into the backyards that haven’t been thoroughly fenced off, and even then the arboreal property of the homeowners snakes out above for our enjoyment.

Some things along the way make me wonder. Who crafted this ornament perched at the edge of a koi pond?

Where do the ghostly children go in winter?

Is any human braving the Piermont Marsh in this weather?

You can see the beige ribbon across the river from Dobbs Ferry, which is not in fact a sand beach but two miles of shoreline reeds said to be prehistoric in origin. When you canoe through the marsh along black ribbons of tidal water, you might see a fish flop or a hermit crab furiously working its way across the silty sand when it senses your presence. An eagle might pass close above. I have never seen a snapping turtle there but apparently they come along once in a while. It is a place of cryptic messages from another time. Just don’t get washed out into the Hudson when the chop is high.

On the Aqueduct, the Overseer’s House is a preening facsimile of itself from its construction in 1857, when it was the home of James Bremner, the principal superintendent of the Aqueduct north of New York City. It’s the only surviving Keeper’s House from the old days.

Funny conundrum – what sprite is caring for this little spot nestled among a couple of tree trunks?

Also, whose carefully constructed hut is this, that seemingly has no entrance or egress? Peter Pan might be near.

Home. To whom?

If this was not arranged deliberately as a work of art, it should have been.

Thank you, I am welcome, but these signs are leaning against a wall in the middle of nowhere.

No Trespassing has been forcefully crossed out. Never seen that before.

Is this oak leaf a pin or a red? If any arborist would like to weigh in, fine, though it hardly matters, this specimen is so lustrous and perfect.

Has it occurred to anyone that oak leaves sometimes appear to be crawling the way a crab crawls out of the ocean surf?

I meet a dog named Sage, a very good girl who seems accustomed to getting her picture snapped, while her owner turns her back and continues her phone conversation. Okay.

Walking home there is a mystery that is only a mystery for those not in the know.

Squirrel Alley sculptor Raffaello Menconi lived in Hastings in the early part of the 20th century. I read someplace that rubbing the beast’s head would give someone good luck, but I’ve never needed to try it. I’ve always had good luck.

These young trees will certainly bring spiritual uplift to the people who planted them. Is it witchery to think so? Maybe.

And down the block lies the sweetest sidewalk expression I’ve seen.

Sweeter even than the Squirrel or Sage.


Filed under Jean Zimmerman

4 responses to “A cold walk among mysteries

  1. Anonymous

    Better than Hillside Woods?

  2. Nancy balaban

    Best walking place ever.

  3. Anonymous

    Thank you! Always seeing the gold in trash.

  4. Jennifer

    Loved taking this walk with you, Jean. We all
    walk in mysteries but you write about them better than anyone.

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