Monday, February 16, 2009


The Harlem Valley Rail Line, opened in 1852, running 127 miles north from New York City to Chatham. Now, the last 50 miles is a hiking trail. My husband and I begin our walk in Millerton, a village at the southern end of the trail.

An embankment on either side, ten, twelve feet high, layers of stratified rock pressed one on the other, jagged edges, smooth flat surfaces, glistening with the run-off from melting snow. Clumps of moss cling to them, filling in the spaces like green mortar. On both sides clear water gurgling… puddling at the base. In the shaded sections, ice still on the path.

I imagine a train rolling through, steam engine chugging, smoke stack spewing black smoke, whistle blowing, kids waving from the tops of the embankments. At the stations along the line, loading docks busy with commerce from the nearby mills and farms, keeping the City fed. Local folks going from town to town to shop, visit, attend school. Weekenders up from the City to hunt, hike and dine at the hotels built just for the leisure trade.

lengthening shadows
pursued by the cold
we hurry our steps

Stylus Poetry Journal, July 2007

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