Friday, May 17, 2013
Back To The Gap
It’s been a long time. I used to be connected to this place. I snorkeled, fished and canoed here. I came here after my prom to watch the sun rise over the river. I learned how to kayak here. One of the best memories I have of my dad is a camping/fishing/snorkeling trip we took here when I was in middle school. I was first mesmerized by the Delaware’s clear water, deep pools and abundant fish on that trip. It’s been over 26 years since I have been to the Delaware Water Gap, and a lot of life has happened since I was here last. Part of the life that has happened is my dad’s death 15 years ago. Can’t believe it’s been that long. Being here brings back great memories, and a little pain. I miss him, and I wish he could see what I’m doing on rivers now. I was here to run a snorkeling trip with some students as part of a much larger effort by the Delaware Riverkeeper (www.delawareriverkeeper.org) to get kids connected to the Delaware. I arrived hours early to remember. I have so many memories tied to this river, this place. Rivers are much more than conduits for water. The place was almost the way I remember it. Pit toilets were replaced with composters. The river looked unchanged. Its surface was calm but obviously moving. The shores were still forested and the silt islands still split the river in two. I slid into the water with the same slight trepidation I do when I enter any large river. This is big water and the feelings of smallness, insignificance, and lack of control are uncomfortable. The force of the water mats vegetation beds to the cobbles. The bottom fades into the haze of deeper water that gives the river an infinite feel. Large web spinner caddisfly nets fold and billow in the current. A water snake appears in mid water before me, bobs to the surface and dives when it realizes I am there. It wedges between the bottom and a rock and almost blends in, but I end up losing it to the background when it moves to a better hiding spot. These are such misunderstood and victimized animals. I could have swam with that snake all day of it would let me. I could have drifted over cobble and submerged vegetation beds all the way to Easton. The river still holds the same captivated awe. It was good to get back to the gap. It won’t be nearly as long before I am here again.