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.


Share Your World – November 13, 2017 and Thanksgiving draws near

Do you ever sit on a park bench for more than ten minutes?

Unless I’m taking pictures, probably not. But generally, the reason I’m in the park at all is to take pictures, so essentially the two things go together.

I love park benches. I can put my camera bag down. I have someplace convenient to change lenses, and I can take a load off my humorously so-called feet. All good. And lucky me, all the parks here have more than enough benches for the number of people who want them. Plenty of room, no waiting!

When you lose electricity in a storm, do you light the candles, turn on the flashlight or use your cell phone for light?

We have not had (knock on wood) many outages in recent years. We had a relatively long one during the last storm, but it was in the dead of night, so I lit some candles so we could find our way to the bathrooms, and by morning, we were up and running again. Other places were not so lucky.

Lavender candles

I keep small, bright flashlights in “grabbing” distance. I have a mini mag-lite next to my bed, flashlights in the living room and kitchen, too. Plus lots of candles, big and small candles in glass containers. Most important — we have matches. It turns out, you can be very well prepared, but without matches, it all amounts to darkness.

When I smoked, we always had lighters and matches, but that was years ago. The lighters you find around the house these days pretty don’t light. Probably haven’t for years, but no one thought to throw them away. Like all those non-writing pens we seem to keep, even though they have long since run out of ink.

Would you rather be given $10,000 for your own use or $100,000 to give anonymously to strangers?

We are way too poor to go for anonymous giving to strangers. I really need to do something about the bathrooms and it wouldn’t be a bad thing to have a little money in the bank for emergencies. Right now, there’s a big, fat nothing in the emergency fund.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.

Pissed off that Duke got shot. Felt better it wasn’t worse. Got the chair and railing, but have to wait a few days for installation. Hope I never need a new appliance because it will block the staircase and NO ONE will get anything huge up those stairs again.

There’s always something that diminishes the luster of achievement, isn’t there?

Natural good fortune

Blackstone Canal, Uxbridge

Blackstone Canal, Uxbridge

I sometimes forget to count my blessing. I intend to. But I only remember some things and take the rest for granted.

The beauty of this valley is one of the things I sometimes no longer notice. When we first moved here from Boston, I was constantly aware of it.


I would just be driving from one place to another, and I’d look around … and it took my breath away. Autumn, of course, when all of New England is in its glory. Winter, despite my constant complaints about it … there is nothing more glorious than a fresh snow that clings to every surface. A snow-covered world can be so amazing it looks unreal, like a picture from a book you saw as a child. It’s always Christmas during the winter here.


Thus when you see my pictures and think it must be a special place … like a national park or some such … and I realize it’s the little park near the railroad trestle in town. Or the place along the canal adjacent to the parking lot of the medical building. Or the miniature park with two picnic tables, a tiny boat launch ramp, and a teeny parking lot. It’s even paved in places. I think it used to be paved everywhere, but that was long ago in an economy far, far away.

Apple Blossoms

It’s easy to take nature for granted. I think that’s one of mankind’s biggest problems — in a nutshell. There seems to be so much of it, you can’t imagine it ever running out. But I spent most of my life in a city or a tame (well-paved) suburb where there were no wild riverbanks, no wild anything. So I can easily imagine it. There were other good things in citified areas. If you bother to look, there’s always something.


Here, though, the entire world is a picture postcard. And that’s just my backyard. When I forget … then … I have pictures to remind me to say a big, heartfelt “thank you” to Mother Earth for the daily gift of such extraordinary beauty.

Mumford before the falls

Mumford before the falls