April 29th, 2015

River & Roots





After an hour and a half of driving, we pulled into a parking lot on Bethlehem, PA's Sand Island Park, underneath a huge steel bridge.

"Come on," Maria ordered.

She led me along a narrow path alongside the wide, shallow Lehigh river to our right and a boat canal on our left. Finally we picked our way through a stand of leafy bushes on a steep slope, down to the riverbank. She ordered me to get out my camera, and to stand--"Right there!"--near the water. Then, without a further word of explanation, she took off her sneakers, blouse and shorts, and sat down at the base of a massive sycamore.

She put her elbow on her raised knees, hand under her chin. Spreading beneath her were the sycamore's tangled roots, which had been exposed by a recent flood. To the left was the glistening river, and across it a splendid view of the rusted buildings and tall stacks of an abandoned steel mill.

"Shoot!" she commanded.

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