Second Wave walking

24 Dec 2020 | 12:16

What place could I possibly recommend you visit that could be any more interesting than your own head, and heart, in this Covid Time? We now know a lot more about it, both medically and spiritually. In general, everything is more fractured, iffy, blurry, ambiguous. The Old Rules do not work as well. What to do? Let’s consult Nature to learn more about the unnatural patience and tolerance of ambiguity that we seem to need right now, and for the foreseeable future. The Organic has ways often alien to humans: things evolve, reveal, season, cook, wait, whither, ripen. Things are no longer either this or that. They blur, more like a snow globe. Looking to the natural world seems to help rebalance. I offer a few nearby nature adventures.

For a short, dreamy outing, go to Lower Wisner Road, off Wisner Road behind Merchant’s Square. It runs through the Rabbit Run Farm, which is preserved in perpetuity. There’s a small off-road parking area and it’s a nice walk down the sleepy road with wide open vistas of farmland. You know you’re in the right place when you see the bluebird nesting boxes on top of fence posts. You may see some bluebirds overwintering here. For the Lenape, they were the sign of the spirit that drives off the gods of winter. The Orange County Audubon Society uses this area for its Climate Watch Bird Count, coming up in February. Maybe you want to help out? Further up, walking on Iron Forge Road is another adventure all by itself. It’s darker, more historical, with more water views of Long House Creek and some falls.

The other adventure is longer and more mysterious. It’s the 10-mile Clinton Road in West Milford, connecting Warwick Turnpike to Route 23. It starts at the modest Lake Lookover community and winds through the wild 15,000 acres of the Pequannock Watershed. There are good public parking and hiking areas. It’s the only local road I know with its own Wikipedia entry, its own citation in Weird New Jersey and a recent movie made about it. It might be the perfect Thin Place for this Second Wave of Covid.