I usually can’t find this challenge until it’s a week old. Remarkably, I was able to find Cee’s entry and track it down that way. I have to go check my “Reader” and see why this isn’t showing up. Actually, the problem is that I have so much email from posts, advertisements, political stuff, news and occasionally, a real message from a personal friend (!!) — I’m surprised I ever find anything.
As it happens, I have some good oddballs this week and am glad to be able to use them!
Both of these were taken by Garry. They are Rich and I are standing in front of the locks that control the Blackstone Canal in Uxbridge. The two formidably large locks have been subject of a lot of my photographs. I’ve been trying to get a decent picture of them for years, but I never found the right angle.
Garry found it. So this is me (Marilyn), Rich Paschall (visiting from Chicago) in light rain in front of the big metal locks on the widest section of the canal.
So even though I’m writing it, this is actually Garry’s photo blog since he took both pictures. Finally, a couple of decent shots of the locks!
It didn’t happen if you don’t take any pictures. Well, that’s not exactly true, but as a photographer, that’s how I feel about many events. Which doesn’t mean I always take pictures. Much of the time, I don’t feel like taking pictures. I just want to enjoy the event and not be the photographer.
This wasn’t one of those days. We had hoped to go out yesterday, but it rained all day. This morning, we woke up to a bright blue sky and we said “Okay, this is it. Let’s do it. So while I packed up my camera, made sure Garry had a live battery, figured out which lenses I was taking and off we went to the canal.
And halfway there, it started to rain. Plop. Plop. Plop.
“Maybe it’ll stop,” I said. There were still patches of blue in the sky so it could clear.
By the time we got to the canal, it was pouring. It briefly slowed down, so we started to get out of the car. The pause changed instantly into a downpour. The rain gods were still with us. We turned around and started to head to dinner, but made a brief stop at the Crown & Eagle, which is a restored cotton mill which has been repurposed into a senior living facility. It’s a particularly beautiful location with the river behind the building and its own canal full of water lilies in front.
The sun came out.
We turned around and went back to the canal. By then, it had started to drizzle, but it wasn’t pouring. Rich and I decided to take a chance and get out. I was wearing open-toed sandals — not the best footwear for a muddy rainy day by the river. And while my camera is water-resistant, none of the lenses I had brought were water resistant. I picked the 50mm prime because at least it didn’t have any electronics in it.
We took some pictures … and finally, Garry decided to come and shoot some too. He was worried about getting his hearing gear wet … a not unreasonable concern. That’s really expensive equipment that we absolutely can’t afford to replace. But he couldn’t resist the opportunity.
We had about 10 minutes before it started to rain again and if you look, you can see the rain falling in the river. We headed back to the car as quickly as we could with all the gear on the muddy, gritty path which apparently had been really messed up by the constant heavy rains we’ve been having for months.
Then, we really did go to dinner, which was great and I had tempura. Yum!
Of course, as we finished dinner, the sun was shining, the sky was bright blue. These are the longest days of the year and I wished we could go back and take just a few more pictures.
But it was getting late. The dogs needed feeding. Moreover, if I was going to post these pictures, I had to download and process at least a few of them. So here they are. All that rain has made everything bloom like mad. It really does look like a rain forest!
Mills and a river with many canals and locks that rolls along for miles by the river. Sometimes, the river and the canal are one unit. When the water gets rough, the two parts divide into two portions, one having locks to allow barges to deal with waterfalls and white water, the other just the river. Uxbridge has one of the larger sections of a free-flowing canal.
In Worcester, they actually buried the canal under its streets. Worcester is an ugly little city that is always trying to dress up like a real city and never succeeds. Maybe because of its history of putrefaction, factories, river pollution, sewage pollution and some of the ugliest architecture I’ve ever seen anywhere.
Perhaps NOT burying the canal and polluting the river might have made them a more attractive location. We tried to buy a really lovely house up there, but no bank would finance it. It wasn’t that the house wasn’t a beauty. It was glorious and for us, cheap. But the banks wouldn’t finance anything up there. They said: “Buy somewhere else.”
And that is how we wound up in The Valley. By the river and the canal.
You cannot live in this valley and be further than a quarter of a mile from the river, a tributary, a stream, pond, or a canal. We have more parks than grocery stores and banks combined. We have herons, swans, ducks, geese, and about a million (or more) snapping tortoises in the river. Also, trout and baby trout.
Finally, fishing is allowed in many places and sometimes, even swimming. Personally, I’m not swimming anywhere near where those snapping tortoises are hanging. I value my toes.
This is a beautiful place to live. A little light in the culture department, but if nature does it for you, this is a great place to live.
And we do have the country’s first free public library in the middle of town. Just so you know, we used to be a bit snazzier!
The ongoing issue of what, exactly, is oddball remains. I took a bunch of pictures of people in the park this past Saturday. Odd pictures insofar as I have no idea when I might otherwise use these pictures. I guess that makes them as odd as anything I’m like to be taking.
The Blackstone Canal was dug between 1824 and 1834. It was up and running almost immediately. In fewer than 50 years, the railroad took over and the canal became redundant — just another waterway in a valley full of rivers.
Bridge over the Blackstone River
Summer by the Blackstone
Blackstone Gorge – Photo: Garry Armstrong
Kayaking on the Blackstone River
Shiny canal in summer
The Blackstone Canal in Uxbridge, Massachusetts
Ducks on a golden pond
Stone bridge over the river and canal in Autumn
In many areas, the canal and river are one unit and in others, they separate and flow side by side. Where such separation wasn’t possible, locks were added to level the water for barges. You can see tiny canals and huge canals, designed for every kind of barge. The walkways we use were where the horses pulled the barges.
Sometimes, you don’t realize it’s a canal until you realize that it is sided with hewn rocks.
Birds feed there. Kayaks travel along the flat parts of the canal. Fish and turtles live along and in it. It has become another part of the river.
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