Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Open doors, welcoming paths

U.S. 40 bridge over Youghiogheny River Lake
My photos from this trip suggest and obsession with roadways and doorways, bridges and barriers. At the Flight 93 memorial, a jet-black path follows the doomed plane's flight path through an opening in massive angular walls, while the palisades at the reconstructed Fort Necessity open on a circular space much too small for 200 soldiers. On the appropriately named Ferncliff Peninsula, a path through green ferny woods bends through rhododendrons and under limbs but seems to end at a fallen log, while the National Road bridge over Youghiogheny River Lake opens up vistas of glassy water welcoming our canoe.

What doesn't show in the photos? The moving stories told by a park ranger at the Flight 93 memorial, or the sense of vast silence and emptiness where the crash occurred. The photos don't show the other park ranger at the Fort Necessity site, who reminded us of the importance of story in history by making a silent field speak. 

They don't show the crash of water over rocks or the way the platoon of inflated rafts far below us on the river spun around like water striders.  They don't show how hard it was to get a photo of that peculiar blue blossom, how I had to stoop and squeeze between rocks near the river. The photos, fortunately, don't show my sweat or sunburn or mosquito bites, but they also don't reveal how marvelous it felt to dip my feet in cool water in the middle of a hot afternoon. If I could find a way to wade in running water at about 4:00 every afternoon, I would be a much happier person.

Too bad I can't take the Youghiogheny River home with me. With all the dirty hiking and canoeing clothes I'm taking home, it would never fit.

High bridge over Youghioheny River

Approaching the Flight 93 memorial

The opening shows Flight 93's flight path
Wildflowers at Flight 93 memorial

We're standing on the high bridge, looking way down

What is it? Really hard to photograph, that's what.

Where did the path go?

Palisades at reconstructed Fort Necessity.

Ohiopyle and the Yough are barely visible way down in the valley.

1 comment:

Contingent Cassandra said...

I think the blue flower is a spiderwort of some sort (tradescantia) -- probably an Asian invader rather than the similar very rare native species. I can't remember the species name, I'm afraid. Wherever they come from, they're a really lovely shade of blue.