BEFORE THE FALL

WordPress WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: WAITING

Above and into the falls

We live in a region of rivers and dams. Back when this country was more a hope than a reality, this was the river where America’s transition to industrialization began.

According to the National Parks guide:


“The Blackstone River Valley of Massachusetts and Rhode Island is the “Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution,” the place where America made the transformation from Farm to Factory. America’s first textile mill could have been built along practically any river on the eastern seaboard, but in 1790 the forces of capital, ingenuity, mechanical know-how and skilled labor came together at Pawtucket, Rhode Island where the Blackstone River provided the power that kicked off America’s drive to industrialization.”


It’s easy to see our history when you live in the Blackstone Valley. There were 46 dams on the Blackstone River. There are some fewer now. They are trying to remove dams and let the river run freely. But wherever you see a dam, there was a mill, a factory, or both at that turning of the river.

Photo: Garry Armstrong – Below the falls

The soil supporting these dams is terminally hazardous. Packed behind the dams, it can’t spread its poison downstream. Allowed to run into the rivers, it could easily poison the river that was saved from (and is still being saved from) some of the worst pollution anywhere in the world. In the mid 1974, the Blackstone was considered one of the three most polluted rivers in the U.S. Today, it’s a living river filled with birds and fish and even some humans enjoying its waters.

Waiting on the Mumford River in Uxbridge

Most of the remaining dams will stay where they are. The danger to the environment that would come with removing them is incalculable. Thus we enjoy the beauty of the dams. Swans, geese, ducks, divers and the occasional beavers enjoy the calm waters. While swimming is still forbidden both because of the still somewhat polluted water and the dangerous currents in the river, trout breed there and the river is open for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing along many banks.

Waiting and the rush

All the dams were built between 1789 and the early 1900s. Each dam is unique to its place on the river and built of natural local stone.

The pool that forms in the pond before the waterfall is always as still as a glass mirror. It’s remarkable how clear and shiny that water is. Barely a ripple to announce the imminent falling of water over a dam that may be just inches away.

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2017

IN THE RIVER VALLEY

H2o | Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – October 8, 2016


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I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

INSPIRING VIEWS

Nature inspires me. Rivers, valleys, mountains. Sunrise, sunset. Rainbow and city architectural. A beautiful vista, anywhere along the river or at one of its many dams or waterfalls. That’s what does it for me. Beauty has never failed me.

No matter how down in the dumps I felt, being someplace visually beautiful picks me up. I could use a little pick me up right now, so here are a bunch of my all-time favorites.

MY BLUE HERON

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I needed an airing. My cameras needed exercise. So, finally, I got my act together and we went out to take some pictures. Where to go?

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Sometimes, the path of least resistance works out best. We went into town, parked and walked to the Mumford River and the dam. With trepidation. I didn’t know how bad it would be. As it turned out, better than I had hoped, at least for photography.

Because there, right in front of the dam where it used to be deep with a powerful current, stood a blue heron. So still he might have been a statue. Garry spotted him and we dove for our cameras.

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We had nothing to fear. He stood there, unmoving, for so long I thought maybe there was something wrong with him. Then, he started to move. Walked over to the spill way … and grabbed a fish. And swallowed it. Then, in his new position along the side by the spillway, he again went still. I guess he was waiting for another fish. He was still standing there when we packed our gear and headed home.

Mr. Heron catches a fish.
Mr. Heron catches a fish.

The Mumford is very low. It’s no more than a few inches deep, but at least it’s wet. I guess, from the heron’s viewpoint, it’s better this way. Because when the river was “normal,” a wading bird couldn’t fish there.

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DAILY PROMPT: LOCALLY SPEAKING

This is about as local as I can get! All these were taken recently in Uxbridge in the Blackstone Valley. I wish I could add more, but this is enough for the servers to handle. Thank you prompters for giving me something to work with 🙂 Always looking for an excuse to post pictures of our beautiful town.