Human beings suffer,
They torture one another,
They get hurt and get hard.
No poem or play or song
Can fully right a wrong
Inflicted and endured.
The innocent in gaols
Beat on their bars together.
A hunger-striker’s father
Stands in the graveyard dumb.
The police widow in veils
Faints at the funeral home.
History says, don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.
So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.
Call miracle self-healing:
The utter, self-revealing
Double-take of feeling.
If there’s fire on the mountain
Or lightning and storm
And a god speaks from the sky
That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at its term.
~ Seamus Heaney
I have been experiencing some trouble putting together a post lately. So many things are crowding my head, especially after watching Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony last week. Because of my own experiences in high school and in life, it was difficult to watch. I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it was for her to show up and testify. Her bravery, to me, was impressive. That’s especially true given that the old white men who were afraid to be seen questioning her had no intention of letting her testimony influence their decision in this matter, a decision that was already made by some no matter what came up.
I hadn’t intended to stay for the second half of the circus but in the interest of fairness, I did. It was difficult watch. Kavanaugh’s face and tone of voice reminded me of abusive, belligerent men I’ve known. His partisanship was shocking to me. Yelling and carrying on about conspiracies is hardly the demeanor of a judge who is supposed to have some claim to neutrality. It’s been pointed out to me, by someone perhaps wiser than myself, that others might have judged his attitude to be that of an innocent man who has been wrongly accused, and that what we saw was no doubt colored by our own experiences and beliefs. I think that wise person may be right. In addition, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic, posted something on Instagram this morning that made me pause for thought. She called it a Monday Morning Integrity Check and started with this:
It’s Monday morning and the godawful news cycle is about to begin again. Before I start getting high off the crack pipe of outrage, I decided to do an integrity check on myself.
That was followed by six questions she asked herself regarding her bias in how she views what is going on in the news here in the U.S. I laughed when I read the part about getting high off the crack pipe of outrage because, for me, there’s truth in that statement. Following the news and getting outraged about it has become my latest addiction, methinks.
The whole thing left me feeling as if I were holding my breath, waiting for something (although I couldn’t tell you what it was I was waiting for). It wasn’t until Saturday, when M and I went out for a hike, that I finally felt a sense of relief, of exhaling, of letting go of tension.
The weather was wonderful. Almost perfect for hiking. We’ve been wanting to explore new (to us) parks and hiking trails so we set out for Pemberton Historical Park up in Salisbury. This meant crossing the Wicomico River via ferry, one of my favorite things to do. Strange, right? I don’t usually like being out on the water but I don’t mind this small ferry crossing. Maybe because it is small and doesn’t take long. The bonus might be the sense of history I feel, knowing there has been a ferry there since the 1650’s.
Pemberton Historical Park is the site of Pemberton Hall, a plantation built by Isaac Handy in 1741. Isaac’s father, Samuel, arrived on the Eastern Shore as an indentured servant. He did well for himself, eventually acquiring over 2,000 acres of land and a fleet of ships used for coastal trade. Isaac was Samuel’s 13th child, and he did pretty well for himself, too. He bought 960 acres of land from Joseph Pemberton in 1726, became a planter and a ships’ Master, and had Pemberton Hall built along with other buildings on his property. At the time of his death he owned 1500 acres of land and 16 slaves. He was one of the wealthiest men in the community and a founder of Salisbury Town which is now the city of Salisbury.
M and I did not walk over to Pemberton Hall. It looked as though they were getting ready for a wedding or some other event. We’ll go back another day to have a look-see. Pemberton Hall was purchased by the Pemberton Hall Foundation in the 1960’s. It had been abandoned and was in need of a great deal of work. The Foundation completely restored the home and the 2 acres surrounding it. They also created a 260 acre park to surround and protect Pemberton Hall. I think they’re working on reproducing other structures that were on the property, including the slaves’ quarters.
There are 4.5 miles of trails at the park, and we set out with a 3-mile hike in mind. I’ve been comfortably walking about 3 miles on my daily walks. I walk on the country roads near home and one of the reasons I wanted to walk elsewhere was so that I could walk on a softer surface and wear my hiking boots which are still new enough that I need to break them in with some mileage if I want to wear them on longer hikes.
M and I decided on the Bell Island Trail to start, planning to hook up with other trails (the Osprey Trail and Woodland Trail) to lengthen our hike. The Bell Island Trail is 1.2 miles. Bell Island, known as “The Commons” during the time of the Handy’s, was the pasture area for the livestock. It eventually became the location of the plantation ice house.
We took a left when we should have taken a right at one point and ended up walking on part of another trail. I’m not sure which one it was. We never did figure it out. The trails all loop and it was easy enough to find our way back to where we should have taken the path to the right.
The trail winds through a variety of ecosystems. The property is located on the southern bank of the Wicomico River which is, like most (maybe all? I’m not sure) rivers on the Eastern Shore, tidal. There are marshlands, freshwater wetlands, small freshwater creeks, an overlook where you can sit by the river, woodlands with pines and hardwoods, and meadows.
Thank you for joining me on another meander. I took a lot of photos on this hike, and hopefully I’ll be able to share more with you soon. I would like to post something from a hike or walk every day this month since October means Walktober. Better to be blogging than spending too much time following the news cycle.
The sunsets have been amazing lately. Meet me out at the Point if you want to see what nature has in mind this evening. Sunset is scheduled for 6:48 PM. I’ll be there a little early as usual. It’s a beautiful day and I think we’ll enjoy the breeze while we take a short walk on the beach.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 846) The subtle signs of autumn. 847) Hikes in the woods. 848) Red lentil soup for dinner tonight. 849) Cooler nights and drier days. 850) Big-hearted people.