PARKS BY A RIVER – Marilyn Armstrong

Weekly Word Prompt: Parks

We live in the Blackstone Valley Historic Corridor, so basically, we live in a park. It’s one level below a national park, but without the funding (such as it is these days). The good news is that we have parks. Everywhere.

As the Blackstone winds its way down from the Worcester Hills, there are parks in every town and at every curve along the river.

The Dam on the Mumford

From Worcester, about 20 miles north of here, all the way through Rhode Island, the Blackstone has parks with areas designed for walking, fishing, swimming, and kayaking.

Marilyn on a bench by the river
The big Canal locks and a couple of bloggers with cameras!
Garry and me – Thank you, Rich Paschall!

There are picnic tables and barbecues. Best of all, there are places to safely walk and park the car. All of them are open all year round, though when the snow is heavy, it’s difficult to get into the park. The small parks don’t always plow, but the larger ones do plow. Then all you need to do is find a way to get through the drifts.

Take a walk along the banks of the Blackstone
The stone bridge in the rain

My favorite three parks are the one in the middle of town around the Mumford (one of the larger tributaries of the Blackstone), another behind the medical building in North Uxbridge. That one has two connected parts: the Canal and its locks — as well as its lovely stone bridge — and River Bend which has turned a farmhouse from the 1600s into a small museum.

Photo: Garry Armstrong – Blackstone River

You can walk from one park to the other along the route that was once used by horses to haul the barges in the canal.

And in the water …
Together forever, swans mate for life

Finally, there’s a lovely park in Smithfield, Rhode Island which is literally on the same road on which we live. It’s set up for fishing and loaded with trout. People come there to kayak, fish, and swim. We come to take pictures, enjoy their smiles and their dogs and little kayaks. And of course, the fish!

Photo: Garry Armstrong

It’s nice living in a park. For at least three seasons every year, the parks welcome us and we are always glad to visit them.

THE LAST OF THE BLUE DAYS OF A SQUARE JULY – Garry Armstrong

LAST BLUE DAYS IN SQUARE JULY – Garry Armstrong
And I get the final blue evening by the river …

TO CAMP OR NOT TO CAMP – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Camp

I always wanted to go camping. All my friends went camping. My brother and sister went camping. I so envied them.

I stayed home. My mother felt camp was where you sent a child that needed “the experience” of “being away” from home (like my clingy sister), or who had a troubled home life (like my brother). Since I didn’t seem to need those experiences and always managed to find something to do, I didn’t need camping.

Garry’s horse

But I wanted to go. I wanted to swim and be out in the country. All through August, every kid was gone for weeks at a time. It was lonely.

Many years later, I tried to explain it to my mother and I think she finally understood that “camp” wasn’t where you sent psychologically deficient children, but a place for normal kids to have fun. Play games. Learn to swim.

She had never considered that.

I suppose it was a compliment, but if ever I experienced a truly back-handed compliment, that was it.

I sent Owen to camp because I didn’t go. Not only did I send him to camp, but I sent him to the camp to which I would have given an arm and both legs to go. It was a horseback riding camp. He didn’t like it. Too rough and tumble.

We always try to give our kids what we wanted and it almost never works the way we intended it. You just can’t win.

We try so hard and somehow, we manage to get it at least a little wrong. Maybe that’s the way parenthood is. You never stop learning. I still haven’t stopped learning. I don’t think I could stop if I tried.

The dock at River Bend

As a child, I wanted freedom. The less adult interference in my life, the happier I was. The fewer parents around, the more I learned. If you gave me a heap of books and as many horses as I could wrap my legs around, I was in heaven.

That wasn’t what Owen wanted. By the time Kaity was growing up, I didn’t have the money to send her anywhere. And she was more like Owen insofar as she didn’t want to leave home and the idea of being with a bunch of kids she didn’t know was not appealing.

Lucky for her I didn’t have the money to send her anywhere!

FRIENDS AND THE JULY BLUES – Marilyn Armstrong

FRIENDS AND THE JULY BLUES

And there we were at the farm and Ben was wearing his favorite blue shirt.

Friends in blue. Is that the same as blue friends?

Regardless, this is our friend Ben at the farm in August using his favorite OMD Olympus camera.

Friends in blue – July Blues

KARIN LAINE MCMILLEN AND SUMMERTIME – Marilyn Armstrong

Absolutely Not Cacophony

She has swans. She has a beloved dog and a pond for her swans. And she has a voice.

Cacophony is noise. This is a joyful noise.

Karin Laine McMillen and a song to go with the heat, humidity … and summertime.

MORE OF THOSE JULY BLUES … Marilyn Armstrong

Stormy Afternoon in the Diner

It’s very hot. Not hot like “hot,” but even hotter than that. It may have cooled off a little because about an hour ago, I heard thunder while I was showering.

I quickly rinsed everything off because who knows if the power is going down? Bad enough to have the power go out — which means the water pump is not working — but having that happen while you are covered in conditioner and suds. Yuck!

The power has stayed on, though the cable has been dicey. But it’s ridiculously hot and the humidity broke 1000% early this morning.

I don’t mind the heat as much as the intense humidity which makes it hard for me (and every other asthmatic) to breathe. I keep hoping sanity will hit Medicare and they will find a way to make sure we have inhalers again.

I get “testers” from the doctor, but I use them only when I’m desperate. Which means if I’m not moving at all IN the house IN air-conditioning — and I’m still gasping for breath. That’s our fabulous medical care system at work.

That’s only a small digression. Because until the heatwave breaks, I really can’t go outside. The air is so humid, it feels thick. Not like real air. It feels like you are wearing it rather than walking through it. It doesn’t move. No breeze. It lays heavily on everything.

The heatwave will break in another few days or so we hope. Until then, I’m “inside woman”!

JULY AND THE BLUES AGAIN … Marilyn Armstrong

Clapboard Steeple against a summer blue sky

This color sky is a summertime only sky. In the winter, we get more of a marine blue that has a hint of green. Almost turquoise. This deep, almost navy blue is from June through August. When it doesn’t rain, of course.

In September, it changes slightly and the sun has a more amber tone to it and the sky is just a tiny bit golden — the perfect time to take portraits. Everyone looks wonderful in the golden light of Autumn.

But this is full summer and the gold waits in the wings of the future.

Square steeple against a deep blue sky

And yes, in case you are wondering, I am constantly watching for the colors of the sun and sky. If you change where you live, the colors change again. In Israel, the sun was a brilliant yellow in a turquoise sky. Almost blinding it was so bright.